According to news sources, the Army Corps of Engineers has notified protesters fighting against the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline that they must vacate property near the Cannonball River, which is home to their Oceti Sakowin camp. The location must be vacated by 5 December and those still there face arrest.
"This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontation […], and to prevent death, illness or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions,” Col. John Henderson, the Army Corps' district commander, said in a letter to the leader of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The Corps has recently issued a statement, which noted that it wants a "peaceful and orderly transition to a safer location and has no plans for forcible removal." However, those who choose to stay "do so at their own risk as emergency fire, medical and law enforcement response cannot be adequately provided in these areas," the statement added.
The letter was sent after a protester's arm was injured by a concussion grenade that was allegedly thrown by local law enforcement. Police also sprayed protesters with a fire hose in near-freezing conditions.
It makes it clear that the land will be closed to the public and anyone who enters it will can be considered trespassing. They could, therefore, face prosecution under federal, state and local laws.
In response, Tribal Chairman Cave Archambault II released a statement, claiming that the tribe is deeply disappointed by the Corps’ statement. However he did not state exactly how the tribe would respond: “It is both unfortunate and ironic that this announcement comes the day after this country celebrates Thanksgiving – a historic exchange of goodwill between Native Americans and the first immigrants from Europe.”
"Our Tribe is deeply disappointed in this decision by the US, but our resolve to protect our water is stronger than ever," he added.
"The best way to protect people during the winter, and reduce the risk of conflict between water protectors and militarised police is to deny the easement for the Oahe crossing and deny it now."
Henderson's letter said that the Corps has set up a free speech zone on land located to the south of the river. He said that this area would allow police, fire and medical response teams to more easily access protestors, if required.
According to NBC News, Dakota Access protesters have since vowed to remain in the Oceti Sakowin camp.
Read the article online at: https://www.worldpipelines.com/project-news/28112016/army-corps-orders-protesters-out-of-camp/