Dakota Access pipeline camps abandoned, burned after nearly a year of protest

Posted February 26, 2017

Anti-pipeline protestors, including Native American groups and environmental activists, have clashed with authorities for months, with up to 700 protest-related arrests since August, according to an AP report. It was not clear where they were headed.

"You had to try and be arrested today", said Burgum. He said he didn't support people setting fires on sacred grounds, but understood people's emotions were high.

In the final hours, some holdouts set fire to a structure at the camp where thousands have built tipis, yurts, huts and massive shelters in recent months. A 17 year-old girl and 7 year-old boy were taken to hospital for burns. The governor's emergency evacuation order cited increasing temperatures and the threat of flooding as the impetus for accelerating the camp's cleanup.

"We prefer to handle this in a more diplomatic, understanding way", Herr said, adding that a transition center will be set up to help protesters who don't have a place to go. Police then took 10 people into custody for obstructing a government function, authorities said.

Most of those living at the camp left voluntarily, with many boarding state-funded buses to get access to hygiene kits, food and hotels.

Among those leaving was Linda Black Elk, who has called the camp home since April. They have been containers for prayer and for brining people together. It was never given up, it was never purchased.

"It's waking people up", she said in front of a friend's yurt where she has been staying. "It's wrong to forcibly evict people _ again _ from their land". "Time is of the essence, but, as the judge said, the lawsuit doesn't become irrelevant if they turn on the tap, because he can always direct them to turn it off". "All of them are going to be out there fighting to hold their land". Hundreds of protesters are still in the area. Updates are also coming from the Facebook pages of the Indigenous Environmental Network's Dallas Goldtooth and Kandi Mossett.

One activist, Tonya Olsen, an American Indian who had lived at the camp for almost four months, said she was upset about being booted from the ramshackle teepee she has called home since December.

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Authorities in North Dakota on Tuesday issued restrictions on media covering the camp evacuation, for the first time imposing a requirement for credentials issued by police.

In North Dakota, a militarized police force moved into the main Dakota Access pipeline protest camp near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation Thursday. Lt. Iverson says the relocation of those buildings will be turned over to the Standing Rock Tribe or other Native American agencies.

Many in the closed camp have gone to other camps nearby on the Standing Rock Reservation.

The eviction comes less than a month after Donald Trump ordered an expedited approval of the pipeline, reversing the Obama administration's last-minute decision to halt the project.

The $3.8 billion pipeline would carry shale oil from North Dakota to oil refineries in IL.

As Black Elk left the camp on Wednesday, she said she felt disappointed, but hopeful.

"We are following up on a hip injury involving someone who was arrested", said Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier.