Some Dakota pipeline protesters defy evacuation deadline

Ten people were arrested Wednesday and charged with "obstruction of government function," Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier told reporters. 

Some Dakota pipeline protesters defy evacuation deadline

World Bulletin / News Desk

Dozens of protesters remained at a North Dakota camp site on Thursday, refusing to vacate the area where Native Americans and supporters have tried to block oil pipeline construction for nearly a year. 

Law enforcement appeared Thursday morning with several armored vehicles accompanied by bulldozers to begin cleaning up the area. Authorities said there could be as many as 50 people still in the camp who could face arrest. 

Many of the protesters against the Dakota Access pipeline who had remained at the camp through the winter left peacefully on Wednesday, facing an afternoon evacuation deadline. 

During warmer months the camp had at times swelled to thousands of demonstrators, giving the opposition campaign international attention. 

State officials and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe -- which says the pipeline threatens the Missouri River and the Lake Oahe reservoir, a key drinking water source -- had asked campers to leave in order to clean up the site before snow melts. 

Otherwise man-made pollutants could contaminate the river, they say, as the campsite is on a flood plain.

Authorities have stressed that the prairie land near the Missouri River, where the protesters have camped, could face potential ecological disaster if crews are not allowed to clean up the area before spring. 

"This was beautiful North Dakota prairie, in a sensitive watershed area," said North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum. 

The governor said "all the driving and the ruts," as well as accumulated garbage, have substantially damaged the soil. Hundreds of abandoned cars that may have frozen over the winter could also have leaking batteries, posing an additional contamination threat, he said.  

The camp first sprung up in April when Native Americans and their supporters began rallying against the Dakota Access pipeline, which has an underground route that intersects the Missouri River. 

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe says the pipeline threatens the river and nearby sacred sites.


Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Şubat 2017, 20:38