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North Dakota pipeline row: Native American tribe, activists vow to continue fight

Protesters against the Dakota Access Pipeline stand-off with police in this aerial photo near the town of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, US. Photograph: (AFP)

North Dakota, United States Oct 29, 2016, 05.14 AM (IST)

A day after North Dakota police arrested 141 people for staging violent protests against a multibillion-dollar oil pipeline project, the activists and a native American tribe vowed to continue their fight against the project on Friday, international news agency Reuters reported. 

 

Thousands of native Americans have been protesting since April this year against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline that will pass secret burial grounds and the Missouri river—the major water source for the  Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

 

The protesters on Thursday set roadblocks ablaze and threw rocks and bottles at the law enforcement officers, to which the police responded by using pepper sprays, bean bag rounds and audio cannon, AFP quoted the County Sheriff's Department as saying. 

 

The 1,172-mile (1,885-km) pipeline, being built by a group of companies led by Energy Transfer Partners LP, would offer the fastest and most direct route to bring Bakken shale oil from North Dakota to US Gulf Coast refineries, according to Reuters. 

 

Many of the protesters believe that they still have time and the opportunity to disrupt the construction. 

 

'We refuse to bow down'

The use of force by police has prompted the tribe to seek a probe by the US Department of Justice. 

 

"We've heard many, many reports on injury and unlawful arrests," Sue Evans, a spokeswoman for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe told Reuters.

 

"We would like those law enforcement abuses investigated."  

 

Environmental activists and protesters have been carrying out protests since April, which even prompted the US government to halt construction of the pipeline in September.  

 

Meanwhile, The US Army Corps of Engineers is deciding whether to grant the pipeline company an easement to build under Lake Oahe, a reservoir on the Missouri river through which the pipeline is supposed to cross. 

 

(WION with inputs from Reuters, AFP)

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