(REPORT) — The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is set to press on in its legal battle against the Dakota Access pipeline Monday after leaders issued statements over the weekend condemning recent violence against demonstrators and clarifying that they don’t want to see activists forcibly removed from the protest site.
They also have called on allies to join the tribe in demanding a fair legal review of the multi-billion dollar project that U.S. President Donald Trump plans to usher through to completion.
On Wednesday, law enforcement officers arrested 76 protesters who were camped on land owned by the Dakota Access pipeline’s developer, Energy Transfer Partners. While the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe said leaders were working with federal authorities to stabilize the situation at the protest site, they indicated that they did not want protestors to be arrested or ousted from the spot by force.
“We want to stress that we are cleaning the camps, not clearing them. We do not support or endorse any ‘raids’. We have not asked for law enforcement to assist in clearing camps and in fact have repeatedly told them there will be no forcible removal,” the tribe noted in a statement posted on its Facebook page.
Last month, Trump gave the green light to the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite its review of Energy Transfer Partners’ application so the pipeline construction could move forward. Last week, officials indicated that they were quickening their review process, but had not yet come to a final conclusion.
Standing Rock Sioux Tribe officials also clarified that while they will continue in their fight against the pipeline, protesters need to be more sensitive to nearby residents at the reservation.
Watch: Drone footage of police in the process of raiding the Standing Rock camps:
“One of the key tenets of any movement is being considerate about how we treat the community in which we bring our voices and respect the places where we are visitors,” they stated. “The community of Cannonball has every right to choose how it wants people to help them. We are still focused on defeating DAPL on all fronts.”
The movement against the pipeline won a victory late last year when the Obama adminstration blocked the completion of Dakota Access along its current route, pending an environmental impact study — a review process that could take months if not years. But many activists noted at the time that the fight agains the controversial project, which has been slammed for desecrating sacred Indigenous sites and jeopardizing important water sources, was not over, particularly in light of anticipated pro-pipeline and anti-environment policy-making under the Trump administration.
Despite the challenging, the Standing Rock Sioux expressed optimism in recent statements, calling for solidarity to propel the movement.
“We are heartened by the successful legal challenge against the discriminatory travel ban overturned and sustained this weekend. We believe DAPL project requires the same legal scrutiny and consideration,” the tribe stated.
“We must stand together against actions and policies that unlawfully discriminate and hurt sovereign nations and Native Americans.”
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