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Tension in North Dakota as Native Americans protest against oil pipeline

Protesters walk through deep mud in the main opposition camp against the Dakota Access oil pipeline near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, US, February 22, 2017. Photograph: (Reuters)

New Delhi, India Aug 26, 2016, 09.20 AM (IST)

Native American activists in North Dakota have said they are still hopeful about halting the construction of a controversial oil pipeline that will run to Illinois, after a federal court said that it needed more time to decide if indigenous rights were violated when the project was approved, The Guardian has reported. 

The federal court will now reach a decision by September 9, the report says. 

North Dakota is simmering with tension from the past two weeks with protests on its prairies and outside the court in Washington DC against the 1,000-mile long pipeline that environmental activists believe will threaten local waterways.

According to media reports, the pipeline will run close to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s reservation, crossing several rivers that supply drinking water to millions of people.
 

Native Americans constitute roughly 5.4 per cent of the region’s population and the protests come three years after a massive oil boom in North Dakota.

Thousands of people from different tribes have trickled in to join the Standing Rock Sioux tribe to protest at the construction site of the Dakota Access Pipeline  and the government has ordered police to cut water-supply

“North Dakota homeland security director Greg Wilz has ordered the removal of state-owned trailers and water tanks from the protest encampment, despite the heat, because of alleged disorderly conduct,"  reports the Bismarck Tribune. 

Native Americans constitute roughly 5.4 per cent of the region’s population and the protests come three years after a massive oil boom in North Dakota.

The issue has also come under Amnesty International United States’ s (AIUSA) scanner. 

AIUSA sent a letter to the North Dakota Highway Patrol and the Morton County Sheriff Department on Wednesday notifying them of a delegation and indicating how authorities should act in accordance with international human rights standards and the US Constitution during the policing of the protests.

“It is the legitimate right of people to peacefully express their opinion,” the letter reads.

“Public assemblies should not be considered as the ‘enemy.’ The command hierarchy must convey a clear message to law enforcement officials that their task is to facilitate and not to restrict a peaceful public assembly.“ 

A petition to stop the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline and protect water that is a “crucial part of our lives” has more than 94,000 signatures, including those of actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo, according to The Guardian. 

(WION)


 

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