Mass arrest as North Dakota police, pipeline protesters clash
CHICAGO – Agence France-PressePolice in the U.S. state of North Dakota arrested oil-pipeline protesters en masse Oct. 27 after a tense standoff and bursts of violence that continued into the night.
Authorities said they had arrested 117 people and confirmed two instances of gunshots in the latest flare of tensions over a controversial oil pipeline project.
One person was shot in the hand after being “run off the road by protestors,” said the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.
Another protester was arrested after firing three shots at police. No injuries were reported.
Law enforcement reported late-night incidents of Molotov cocktails being thrown at officers and fires being set.
The chaos began erupting in late morning when police started moving in to break up protest encampments on public roads and on private land.
Demonstrators moved to block two roads over the weekend and camped on private land in an effort to stop construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline - the subject of a months-long protest by Native Americans and supporters.
Police in riot helmets used a sound cannon device and pepper spray during operations that initially lasted more than five hours, before authorities said most of the several hundred protesters left voluntarily or were arrested.
“Hopefully, we have persuaded these protesters that our state highways and county highways, private property, is not the place to carry out a peaceful protest,” North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple said at a news conference.
Dallas Goldtooth, a protester at the scene of the Oct. 27 standoff, said police were “very aggressive” and had also used bean bags and a “concussion grenade.”
“The police action today was to remove protectors from this land,” he said.