MANDAN, N.D., Oct. 22 (UPI) — Police in North Dakota arrested 83 protesters after violent clashes at the construction site of the Dakota Access pipeline on Saturday morning.
A group of protesters walked some three miles off the nearest road with a large all-terrain vehicle, slashed its tires and fastened themselves to the machine, according to the Bismarck Tribune. One individual chained herself to the steering wheel. Another man put his arm through a hole in the vehicle’s door, then put his hand in a bucket of dried cement. The protest happened in rural Mandan, North Dakota, where workers are installing the 1,172-mile oil pipeline that will run from the oil fields in North Dakota south as far as Illinois.
Once complete, the pipeline will have the capacity to move 447,000 barrels of oil per day.
When police arrived on scene, a group of 300 or so protesters, Native Americans who view the construction as a violation of their sovereignty along with environmentalists, refused to leave. Police formed a line near the protesters and some tried to breach the line; officers responded with the use of pepper spray.
Two officers were injured, though not seriously, in the confrontation.
Police said they used the least amount of force possible to remove the protesters from private property.
“We want to use the most nonlethal method possible,” Morton County Sheriff’s Department Rob Keller told the Bismarck Tribune.
Attention has been high after a video was released online showing private security contractors unleashing attack dogs on protesters at the construction site.
All told, it took police about five hours to clear the scene of protesters so work in the area could resume.
WDAZ-TV reported protesters were mostly charged with a combination of assault on a peace officer, reckless endangerment, criminal trespass, engaging in a riot, resisting arrest and fleeing an officer on foot.