The Morton County Sheriff’s Department said Tuesday that the total number of arrests linked to the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) protests has risen to 603 following an uptick in unlawful activity. Over the holiday weekend, law enforcement arrested 16 individuals on charges of “criminal trespass, engaging in a riot, possession of marijuana, fleeing, assault on a police officer and preventing arrest.”
On Monday, upwards of 200 protesters marched across the frozen Cannonball River in an attempt to illegally trespass onto private property. Protesters then used electric saws to cut through a fence and aggressively charge at law enforcement officers responding to the scene.
Per usual, protesters have spun a narrative on social media that they were engaged in peaceful prayer march, but video footage provided by the Sheriff’s Department tells a sharply different story.
Following the standoff, protesters then gathered on the now infamous Backwater Bridge where “they cut the security wire, removed fencing material and dismantled the lights illuminating the bridge.”
In addition to trespassing and destruction of police property, protesters also deployed “homemade tire deflating devices” along Highway 1806 and, unfortunately, it appears that at least one of the devices was run over. Local residents have already suffered greatly from the month’s long protest and now they can’t even travel on public roads without fear of being further victimized.
Violence and intimidation have been the cornerstone of the anti-pipeline protests since they began last August. In the past six months the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has allowed an out-of-step gathering to evolve into uncontrolled chaos. This continued disregard for the law serves absolutely no purpose and must come to an end.