Law Enforcement Forces Pipeline Protestors Off Private Land in North Dakota

Law enforcement on Thursday evicted protestors on private land in North Dakota, a site for the Dakota Access pipeline, after dozens of protestors moved to the company-owned property that will be used for a portion of the Dakota Access pipeline route.

The evacuation took nearly six hours as hundreds of armed police officers and members of the National Guard moved onto the land on foot and in military vehicles firing bean bags and pepper spraying protestors after they refused to leave voluntarily.

At least 117 protestors were arrested during the eviction. Protestors set four large pieces of construction equipment on fire, and two other cars were also seen burning. No injuries were reported.

Hundreds of protestors had set up camp on the private land last week, placing their encampment directly in the pipeline’s pathway for the first time. Pipeline developer Energy Transfer released a statement soon after stating the protestors were trespassing and should, by law, move immediately.

Energy Transfer recently purchased the private land on Cannonball Ranch, but Native Americans and other protestors claim the land belongs to Native Americans under a more than century-old treaty.

The 1,170-mile, four-state oil pipeline is almost complete, and Energy Transfer aims to finish it by the end of the year.