Yesterday, protesters in Cannon Ball, North Dakota began vacating the main protest camps ahead of an evacuation order from Governor Burgum which stated all inhabitants of the camp must vacate by 4 PM.
Despite a large buildup of media coverage around the event, most protesters followed the Governor’s order. The state provided opportunities for assistance to the protesters who agreed to vacate the camp, including a bus ride to Bismarck, clothes, food, and vouchers. However it appears only a handful took them.
After the deadline passed, approximately 75 people outside the camp started taunting officers, who brought five large vans to the scene. Police took about 10 people into custody for failing to heed commands to leave despite an extension of the final deadline, according to authorities.
Craig Stevens, spokesman for the MAIN Coalition, said the group understands “the passions that individuals on all sides of the pipeline discussion feel” and hopes that protesters’ voices “will continue to be heard through other peaceful channels and in court.”
The months of anti-pipeline protests have plagued the surrounding communities in North Dakota, and with the beginning of cleanup operations to avert an environmental crisis on the upper Missouri River we can only hope that the continued evacuation of protesters leads to a return to stability in North Dakota.