Tension continues to mount at Standing Rock, North Dakota, where some 400 protesters block a bridge over a state highway. The protesters, who oppose the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, were pushed back by police who used water cannons and tear gas.
At around 6 pm yesterday, the militants removed the carcass of a burnt truck before entering the bridge where a line of police was waiting for them. The police repelled the protesters who were trying to cross the Backwater Bridge they have been blocking for several weeks. The clash lasted a few hours filling the sky with smoke and tear gas.
The Morton County Sheriff’s Office revealed in a statement released at 1:00 am last night that the officers “were thrown stones, logs and wiped slingshots”. A police officer was hit in the head by a stone.
Only one person was arrested.
A training room opened to the sodden protesters so that they could warm up and recover from the effects of tear gas.
An 83-year-old protester, Rema Loeb, left the event for fear of being watered by water cannons on this cool autumn evening when the temperature dropped to -60 ° f. “It was horrible,” said Loeb, who traveled from Massachusetts two weeks ago to protest the construction of the pipeline.
A controversial project
The nearly 35,000-mile pipeline has to cross four states to get oil from North Dakota to Illinois from where the oil is to be shipped. The Standing Rock Sioux Nation has been fighting for months to build the $ 5.14 billion pipeline. Protesters fear that the pipeline, which must pass under the Missouri River, pollutes the water of this river. The latter provides drinking water for the Sioux Standing Rock Reserve, located south of Bismarck.
First Nations are also concerned that the pipeline is going to sacred sites.
Energy Transfer Partners maintains that no site has been disturbed and that the pipeline will be equipped with safety systems to prevent leaks. She says the pipeline is safer than trucking for oil transportation. The company says that the pipeline is very advanced and that it remains to build that part passing under Lake Oahe.
However, the work was interrupted by order of the federal agencies.
The protesters, who had set up camp on land belonging to the company Energy Transfer Partners, were expelled by the police on 27 October.
Yolonda Kerr is a general assignment reporter at The Grand Newsstand. She has covered sports, entertainment and many other beats in her journalism career, and has lived in San Francisco for more than 8 years. Yolonda has appeared periodically on national television shows and has been published in (among others) NPR, Politico, The Atlantic, Harper’s, Wired.com, Vice and Salon.com.