Wednesday, October 05, 2016

North Dakota Sheriff Claims Oil Pipeline Protesters Are ‘Armed’ And ‘Hostile’

Dakota oil pipeline protesters are “armed, hostile, and engaged in training exercises” meant to “promote violence,” a North Dakota law enforcement official warned federal agencies Monday. Protesters and members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe are illegally occupying vast stretches of private property in and around Dakota Access Pipeline construction cites, Mercer County Sheriff Dean Danzeisen wrote in a letter addressed to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Federal officials are refusing to evict those hunkered down at an anti-pipeline encampment near the highly controversial, $3.8 billion project. Officialsbelieve booting the protesters would harm free speech rights, despite the fact that the land is owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Ranchers like Matthew Rebenitsch, who owns a farm near one of the encampments, told reporters he and his neighbors are worried about speaking out publicly for fear that they could be met with reprisals. “To be honest, no one around here wants to say anything because we’re afraid they will come and threaten us,” he said. “I’ll say this, every rancher around here is packing and people are locking their doors — and no one has ever locked a door in their entire life.” The refusal to evict comes on the heels of a spat of violent uprisings among several areas housing protesters. Morton County Sheriff’s Office said on Sept. 9 that four security guards not affiliated with law enforcement and two guard dogs were injured as several hundred protesters living in the Standing Rock Sioux reservation confronted pipeline workers at the site...more 

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