MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A large group of demonstrators protested inside Minneapolis City Hall on Friday to speak out against the deployment of local sheriff’s deputies to North Dakota. The group first gathered outside on the Government Plaza before moving the demonstration inside the building. The crowd included South High School students who walked out at 1:30 p.m. and took a light rail train to join the protest. their chants included, "No DAPL" and "water is life."
The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office this week confirmed that deputies from Hennepin, Anoka, and Washington counties were deployed to assist Morton County deputies “in maintaining the public’s safety, preserve the peace, and protect the constitutional rights of protesters.”
"The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office respects the constitutional right of peaceful and lawful protest," the sheriff's office said in a statement. "We have heard the concerns of these residents and we welcome their views."
Thursday, police in riot gear fired beanbag rounds and pepper spray at Dakota Access Pipeline protesters near Cannonball, North Dakota in an attempt to disperse the crowd. The protesters were gathered on land owned by pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners. Officers arrested 141 people.
Dave Archambault, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, has condemned the removal of Dakota Access Pipeline protesters from Cannonball camp, calling the actions of police "acts of violence against innocent, prayerful people."
The Standing Rock Sioux has been fiercely-opposed to the pipeline, which would run under the Missouri River, just upstream from the reservation. The standoff at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation began in August after construction began on the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline designed to transport crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Indigenous peoples call the project a threat to their access to clean water and an insult to their forefathers, some of whom are buried in the pipeline’s path.
Friday, protesters in North Dakota accused state and local authorities of jamming cellular network coverage. Morton County sheriff's spokesman Rob Keller said authorities did not jam cell phones this week, and have not jammed cell phones at any time during the 2 1/2 months of protests.