Aggressive Protesters Disobey the Law, Breach Construction Site and Attack Pipeline Workers

Enough is enough. It is time for the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline in North Dakota to come to an end.

Yesterday afternoon, video surfaced of hundreds of protesters arriving at a Dakota Access Pipeline construction site on Saturday. Within minutes of arriving at the site, the protesters ambushed and attacked security officials and members of the labor community. Is this what Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault meant when he said the tribe would engage in a peaceful protest in the New York Times?

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier called the protests anything but peaceful stating, “Any suggestion that today’s event was a peaceful protest, is false. This was more like a riot than a protest. Individuals crossed onto private property and accosted private security officers with wooden posts and flag pole. The aggression and violence displayed here today is unlawful and should not be repeated. While no arrests were made at the scene, we are actively investigating the incident and individuals who organized and participated in this unlawful event.

How can we allow these unlawful actions to continue – they are disrupting our communities and putting the safety of themselves and others at risk. The attack against the labor community represents an escalation of the ongoing illegal actions that continue to take place north of Cannon Ball, North Dakota.

Despite the fact that this pipeline, at no point, crosses the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s reservation, protesters trespassed onto private property and assaulted workers and security personnel, breaking through a fence line, and injuring several workers.

The recent violence only further shows how the so-called “peaceful protests” at the job site have been anything but peaceful. Reports in the past few weeks have shown the extent of what the protesters will do, including:

– threats of violence toward police officers
– continued trespassing on private property
– dangerous occupation of construction equipment
– continued intimidation tactics including spitting, throwing punches, rocks, and flashing knives, toward police and members of the labor community

These incidents have proven that the protesters are more than happy to incite violence, and engage in illegal actions despite the threat of arrest. Up to three dozen have been arrested before today, but protesters remain undeterred.

The bottom line is the protesters actions have devolved and descended into a state of lawlessness where people are being physically hurt. Enough is enough.

The protests have escalated to a point they can no longer be called a free speech activity. By violently assaulting construction employees on private land, it is obvious the opponents of the project have now chosen the sword over the pen.

It’s time to put an end to these actions and restore order so that this pipeline can continue construction in a safe manner, as the state of North Dakota, and the federal government has determined it has a right to do.

It is time for Governor Dalrymple and his administration, along with local law enforcement, denounce these activities and protect law abiding citizens from the violent acts of this small and threatening group.