Protestors of the Dakota Access pipeline on Wednesday attempted to construct a bridge across Cantapeta Creek near the Missouri River in order to gain access to the private land of Cannon Ball Ranch, where they would continue to protest the pipeline.
State officers saw protestors building the bridge to cross the creek early Wednesday, according to a news release from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department. The department was then ordered by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to remove the bridge and arrest any protestors trying to cross it with criminal trespass.
Officers removed the bridge and told protestors that if they attempted to cross the river, they would be arrested. Despite the warning, several protestors began swimming across the creek to reach the private land. Some protestors were also in canoes or boats. Several protestors who reached the other side of the creek were pushed back by officers guarding the private property, and some were sprayed with pepper spray.
After several hours of back-and-forth between officers and protestors, the protestors left and returned back to their main camp.
Media reports state that pipeline owner Energy Transfer purchased 6,000 acres of land on Cannon Ball Ranch through which the pipeline is supposed to run. Protestors believe the pipeline will destroy ancient artifacts and burial sites as well as contaminate water supply. Some protestors also worry about greenhouse gas emissions.
Views of the clash at Cantapeta Creek on Wednesday ranged according to protestors and law officers. Some protestors claim they were there to share love toward the officers and explain their reason for being there. In contrast, Sheriff Paul Laney from North Dakota said he had never seen “such an absolute disregard for the law or other people’s rights because of someone else’s ideology” in his 27 years of being in law enforcement.