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DAPL protests continue in North Dakota

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World Pipelines,

Ahead of today’s inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump, tensions surrounding the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) have increased over the last week. Recent days have seen a rise in clashes between protesters and the police, with Reuters reporting that almost 40 arrests have been made since Monday.

As highlighted by Holly Yan and Joe Sutton, writing for CNN: “The last time most of us heard about the DAPL, protesters in the subfreezing December cold were cheering the US Army's decision to temporarily prohibit its construction under Lake Oahe."

In the past, Trump has expressed his support for DAPL, with several news sources reporting that he has financial investment in the project. Thus, with the inauguration drawing ever closer, protestors’ cheers have come to an end due to fears that Trump will support the completion of the US$3.8 billion pipeline. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) states: “President-elect Donald Trump’s team has said they support the pipeline project and would revisit the permit decision after he takes office.”

According to Reuters, this week’s protests have seen police using tear gas and firing bean bag rounds to disperse crowds.

Sputnik News cited a press release from Mandan Police Chief Jason Ziegler as stating that approximately 150 protestors gathered at the Backwater Bridge on the evening of 18 January. The release stated that protestors ignited fires and clashed with officers throughout the evening, causing six injuries between the police and the National Guard.

According to the WSJ, 21 protesters were made on 18 January alone. In response to protestors throwing projectiles, “authorities responded with ‘less-than-lethal munitions,’ including bean bag loaded shotgun rounds, pepper spray and riot control smoke canisters, according to the sheriff’s department,” the WSJ states.

Following this, Reuters suggests that protests continued as on the morning of 19 January, demonstrators threw snowballs at officers and climbed a barricade.

While the protests continue, demonstrators at key DAPL protest camps are reported by Reuters to have said that support from the local Standing Rock Sioux tribe – that launched the effort last year – is much weaker.

The tribe requested that protesters disperse following the Corps' decision, but around 600 remain in the main camp, Reuters reported. What with the inauguration, and with less support being shown at the protest camps, Benjamin Johansen, a carpenter from Iowa who has been at the camp for two months, commented: “It's closing in on the inauguration, and people want to make sure that their voices are heard while they still have a chance.

“There's a very real possibility that once the new president is inaugurated, our voices won't matter.”

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