Published August 18, 2016
STANDING ROCK INDIAN RESERVATION — American Indian protesters are disputing claims by Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier that the protest has turned unlawful.
At a Wednesday press conference, the sheriff stated there have been reports of gunshots, pipe bombs and threats against private security guards hired by Dakota Access, the oil company laying the pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota, near the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri Rivers.
Several protesters have disputed those allegations made by Sheriff Kirchmeier. Protesters at the scene said there were no pipe bombs or guns at the scene. A call by Native News Online to the sheriff’s office for clarification has not been returned by press time.
“This is a peaceful protest. The encampment is a spirit camp; there is a lot of praying every night,” says Phyliss Young, a former tribal councilor of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The number of protesters has grown during the past week when arrests first occurred last Thursday, August 11, 2016. American Indians have come from as far away as California, Arizona and New Mexico and states closer to North Dakota, such as Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.
Since the crowd has changes daily, because some protesters come and go, it is difficult to determine the exact number of protesters. More than 1,200 protesters have signed in at the campsite that is actually located about one mile from the Dakota Access construction site where the protests have been held. Some estimate that as many as 2,000 protesters were on hand on Wednesday.
On Wednesday afternoon, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Dave Archambault II held a press conference.
“There is no place for threats, violence or criminal activity,” Chairman Archambault stated in response to a court order issued by U.S. Federal District Court Daniel Hoyland not to interference with construction.
On Wednesday, law enforcement began diverted traffic because it had become snarled. People interested in joining the protest should be prepared for detours.
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