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117 Oil Pipeline Protesters Arrested In North Dakota As Authorities Clear Camp

Officers began making arrests Thursday after an hours-long standoff with protesters attempting to block construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

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Law enforcement officers and soldiers on Thursday arrested 117 protesters blocking roads and camping on private property to prevent construction of an oil pipeline in North Dakota.

Mike McCleary / The Bismarck Tribune via AP

For the last two months, protesters have convened in North Dakota to oppose the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a 1,172-mile-long structure that will run through four states to transfer crude oil.

Protesters have maintained that the land is not private and was given to Great Sioux Nation in the Treaty of Fort Laramie in 1851. The land was subsequently taken back by the US government.

Police officers in riot gear and military-style vehicles approached a camp and a road block the protesters had set up on state highway 1806 that included a human barricade in addition to cars and men on horses.

"Hands up, don't shoot," crowd chants. #DAPL #NoDAPL

Hundreds of people — including Native Americans, primarily from the Lakota and Dakota reservations, as well as their supporters and environmentalists — launched a determined protest against the initial construction phase of the pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota over two months ago.

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Opposition groups also contend an oil pipeline near the Mississippi, Missouri, and Big Sioux rivers runs the risk of a spill into water supplies. Previous oil spills have occurred in North Dakota in 2014 and as recently as May 2016.

The state of North Dakota, however, has said there are no sensitive cultural sites in the area.

Protesters, who say the pipeline would cross over sacred lands, including burial grounds, have recently moved to a camp on private property owned by Energy Transfer Partners, the developer of the pipeline.

Rev. Jesse Jackson and actor Mark Ruffalo visited the main camp on Wednesday in a show of solidarity.

Rev Jesse Jackson, Avenger Mark Ruffalo and more big time ppl stand with #StandingRock!! They know our future is now

A barricade on route 1806 #NODAPL #DAPL

Some protesters, amid disagreement on the tactic, set fire to the road blocks as a large tactical line of officers and vehicles approached the camp and road block.

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Authorities entered the north camp Thursday after protesters peacefully allowed officers to pass through the barricade following a tense hour-long standoff.

Protesters take down second barricade in the face of armored vehicles and 100 police

Police have entered the camp. I am hearing people are locked down in tents

Police officers began making arrests and taking down tents in the north camp.

Police are pulling down tents now. Just saw them spray paint an X on a teepee.

Several protesters were seen being led away and put in trucks, the Associated Press reported.

State officials also said "non-lethal" bean bag rounds from shotguns and pepper spray were used to disperse protesters, the AP reported.

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As the systematic dismantling of the camp continued, a group of protesters built a new barricade in an effort to slow the progress. Other protesters were arrested and pepper-sprayed when they did not follow police instructions, according to footage from a Facebook Live video.

Protesters have made a new barricade with a teepee, logs and a truck to which people have locked themselves.

Other protesters were sitting in a circle in an act of civil disobedience, waiting to be arrested.

People still on the pickup tho police are threatening arrests and using pepper spray

Protesters appeared to walk back to the other camp after authorities fired bean bag rounds, pepper spray, and an LRAD sound cannon.

People are slowly moving back. Some are singing and holding arms. "They forced us," one man told me.

Less than an hour before sunset, the Morton County Sheriff's Department said all of the protesters had been removed from the private property.

A total of 117 people were arrested, the department said late Thursday. Two people were also arrested for firing guns. In one case, a protester fired three rounds at officers. The other incident happened north of the main camp, but officials did not say how many rounds were fired.

Neither shooting resulted in injuries.

Talal Ansari is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. His secure PGP fingerprint is 4FEE 894C 8088 7E08 E170 A515 2801 7CC6 95D3 11C2

Contact Talal Ansari at talal.ansari@buzzfeed.com.

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