Friday’s protest was noticeably calmer than the previous day’s, when police clashed for hours with Native Americans and environmental activists who oppose construction of the 1,172-mile pipeline. Police used pepper spray, bean bag rounds, a taser and other non-lethal weapons against protesters, Kirchmeier said. No shots were fired by law enforcement, he added.
A woman who was later arrested fired three shots on Thursday that narrowly missed a law enforcement officer, authorities said. Protesters threw feces, water bottles, logs and other debris at officers during the conflict, authorities said.
The tumult that unfolded Thursday prompted some calls to safeguard protesters who remain in a separate camp on federal land, where they’ve been for months.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) called on President Barack Obama to send Department of Justice personnel to guarantee safety and First Amendment rights for protesters, and to suspend all federal permits for the pipeline project until the outcome of a “full cultural and environmental review.”
Amnesty International announced it had deployed a team of human rights observers to the area.
Even before Thursday’s clashes, Standing Rock Sioux members had accused local and state law enforcement of civil rights violations.
The tribe opposes the pipeline, saying it could pollute the Missouri River, the source of their drinking water, and will disturb burial grounds and sites of cultural importance. The Obama administration has withheld a permit that would allow Energy Transfer Partners to build across the river while the government reviews its approval of the largely completed pipeline. /SOURCE