Demonstrators against the Dakota Access Pipeline must move by Dec. 5 or risk arrest according to a letter sent to a Standing Rock Sioux Tribe leader by the Army Corps of Engineers.
“This decision is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontation between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions,” wrote Col. John Henderson.
Tribe chairman Dave Archambault II responded to the eviction order saying he was “deeply disappointed” about the decision.
“It is both unfortunate and disrespectful that this announcement comes the day after this country celebrates Thanksgiving — a historic exchange between Native Americans and the first immigrants from Europe,” he said in a statement. “Although the news is saddening, it is not all surprising given the last 500 years of mistreatment of our people.”
While activists are being warned about possible violent confrontations, they’re already happening. One woman’s arm was badly damaged in an explosion earlier this week. On top of that, police are using water cannons and tear gas on #NoDAPL activists while temperatures are below freezing.
The Army Corps says demonstrators can relocate to a “free speech zone”—basically a place that’s out of the way, as not to inconvenience construction of the pipeline. Nevermind the Standing Rock Tribe was hardly consulted about the project and the pipeline could pollute their water and endanger their sacred sites.
No word yet on how those at Standing Rock will respond, but chairman Archambault says “our resolve to protect our water is stronger than ever.”