Dakota Access Pipeline Protesters Set Fire to Camp Ahead of Evacuation

Demonstrators performed a victory dance in front of law enforcement officials.

Photo Credit: Andrew Kimmel / Twitter

While there were once thousands of protesters on the Dakota Sioux reservation, just 200 to 300 remain ahead of the 2pm evacuation Wednesday. Six months after the protest camp was established, the Army Corps of Engineers has been ordered to shut it down due to potential spring flooding.

The protesters will be given a choice of two buses: one to transport them to Bismarck, and back home; another to transport them to jail. In anticipation of a police raid, the water-protectors burned structures at the camp in ceremonial fashion. By mid-day, multiple fires had broken out. Protesters performed a victory dance as law enforcement arrived. 

“As Native peoples, we have been knocked down again, but we will get back up, we will rise above the greed and corruption that has plagued our peoples since first contact,” said Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who plans to lead a March on Washington for tribal rights next month. While the pipeline is nearly complete, over 100 tribal nations stand with Standing Rock in denouncing the evacuation. 

Maj. French Pope of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and Levi Bachmeier, Gov. Doug Burgum's policy director, met with Johnny Aseron, a camp wellness director, to discuss evacuation logistics Tuesday.

Aseron was assured that for those who leave by the deadline, "there will be no charges."

Alexandra Rosenmann is an AlterNet associate editor. Follow her @alexpreditor.

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