MORTON COUNTY, N.D. (KMSP) - More than 100 people protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline were arrested Thursday as law enforcement used force to remove the protestors from private land in the path of the North Dakota oil pipeline. Protestors have reportedly set numerous fires on a bridge near their main camp in an effort to keep police from advancing further.
A state official said deputies were using "non-lethal" bean bag rounds and pepper spray to disperse protesters.
The Morton County Sheriff’s Office says one protestor at the front line on Highway 1806 fired three rounds near officers, but no one was injured.
A second shooting occurred on the “backwater bridge” north of the protestors’ main camp, injuring one person. The shooters in both incidents are now in custody.
According to the Morton County Sheriff's Office, protesters escalated unlawful behavior over the weekend by setting up illegal roadblock, trespassing onto private property and establishing an encampment. Authorities say they visited the protesters roadblock on Wednesday and asked them to remove the barricade and leave the private property.
The sheriff’s office says the “response to illegal activities” along Highway 1806 is ongoing. 141 people have been arrested as of 8 p.m. on Thursday.
Highway 1806 remains closed between Fort Rice and Cannonball as of Friday afternoon. The sheriff’s office says law enforcement officers remain in a standoff with protestors on a backwater bridge, north of the main camp and say they “have no intention of moving further south.”
The Federal Aviation Administration has put a restriction on flights over the area until Nov. 5.
The Morton County State’s Attorney’s office filed charges against two people involved in an attack on three journalists. James White and Kareen Lewis have been charged with felony restraint. Authorities say on Oct. 18 the attack involved taking a reporter’s microphone, blocking a vehicle, and shaking and hitting the vehicle where the journalists were.