North Dakota Oil Pipeline protesters are being removed from their camp in Morton County by police in riot gear driving military-style vehicles. The protesters are accused of trespassing by the county's sheriff's department: "We cannot have protesters blocking county roads, blocking state highways, or trespassing on private property," Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said.
The protesters, many of whom are Native Americans from the Lakota and Dakota reservations, maintain that the land they are on was given to the Great Sioux Nation in the 1851 Treaty of Fort Laramie, BuzzFeed News reports. The government later reclaimed the land.
Hundreds of protesters had originally flocked to the camp to protest against the oil pipeline's construction, near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Critics say the pipeline could spill and contaminate the tribe's supplies; it would also cross sacred Native American lands and burial grounds.
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