Dozens of water protectors arrested in skirmish filled day in North Dakota

(Dozens of people were arrested Friday after a number of skirmishes broke out between #NoDAPL supporters and police. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)

Tom Fennario
APTN National News
Nearly three-dozen water protectors were arrested Friday morning at multiple locations near land being excavated for the Dakota Pipeline Access pipeline and on a road where a number of people were blocking police from gaining access to the site.

The protest took place around 10:00 central time.

“There was a prayer led march on the disturbed land,” said Jolie Verela, a Paiute from California who witnessed part of the protest. “The group marched to where we couldn’t see them, and as they were coming back we heard that there was about 20 police cars coming, and so that’s when we decided that we kind of have to get out of there.”

A statement from the Morton County Sheriff’s dept. said one water protector was arrested for approaching the line of riot police spread out across the road and swinging a stake in a threatening manner.

The statement also noted that six police car tires were slashed.

Standing Rock police on tow truck
According to the sheriff’s department, a number of police cars had tires slashed Saturday. Photo: Morton County Sheriff’s Department

About 30 other water protectors were arrested for blockading roads leading to Hwy 6, and for trespassing on what police say is land belonging to DAPL, the company building the controversial pipeline.

“I noticed as we were leaving that they were blocking off the road so some cars couldn’t leave,” says Verela.

Police also said construction equipment on site was vandalized.

Later in the day near the same location, another group of about two dozen water protectors again set up a blockade on Highway 6.

Two weeks ago, U.S. President Barack Obama said the the Army Corps of Engineers was looking at rerouting the pipeline away from the contested land.

But in a release from the company Friday, all permits are expected to be approved next week on the current plan.

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Producer Nouvelles Nationales d'APTN / Montreal

Born and raised in Montreal, Tom cut his teeth working in community television in Kahnawà:ke Mohawk Territory before joining APTN as a cameraman/editor in 2008. In 2015 he was promoted to Video Journalist. Since 2019 Tom has been a producer for the French weekly newscast Nouvelles Nationales d’APTN.