21 Dakota Access Pipeline protesters were arrested near the Backwater Bridge last night. Making it the third night in a row of protest activity near Cannon Ball.
According to Morton County Sheriff’s Department they again trespassed, tried to confront, flank and intimidate law enforcement.
In a statement Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said, “It is unfortunate that these protesters are now engaging in nightly riots that impede law enforcement’s ability to facilitate the important clean-up efforts requested by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Morton County citizens. As has been repeatedly said, with the flood season fast approaching, it is imperative that we are bale to help the appropriate agencies remove debris and waste from these protest camps to prevent a probable ecological disaster.”
According to a release, protesters began to assemble on the Backwater Bridge around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, January 18. The crowd grew to about 150 by 8:30 p.m.
During the following four hours, protesters started three tire fires on the bridge, and two fires on each side of the bridge as well as erecting two tipis to further block the Backwater Bridge.
Protesters attempted to get behind or flank the law enforcement line several times.
Law enforcement say they issued several warnings to the protesters to disassemble and when that did not work they deployed ‘less-than-lethal munitions.’ Continued attempts to negotiate did not work and the crowd continued to grow.
According to the release, there were six injuries to law enforcement officers and ND National Guard soldiers. They ranged from ankle, shoulder, wrist and hand injuries. One protester was taken to the hospital by ambulance after receiving an injury to the face.
Law enforcement say they cleared the bridge of protesters three times resulting in 21 arrests ranging from carrying a concealed weapon, criminal trespass, physical obstruction of a government function, preventing arrest on misdemeanor or infraction charge and remaining after request to leave.
Many of those arrested were transported to the Mercer County Jail in Stanton, ND and the ND Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting an investigation in to last night’s activity. More arrests could follow.
This brings the total arrest number to 624 as of August 10.