North Dakota’s governor has dramatically ramped up the pressure against the activists protesting the proposed Dakota Access pipeline.
Citing incoming winter weather conditions, Gov. Jack Dalrymple issued an order on Monday to allow law enforcement to begin turning away trucks transporting supplies to the protesters’ camp.
A spokeswoman for the Morton County Sheriff’s Department told Reuters that Dalrymple’s so-called “emergency evacuation order” would allow police to begin blocking all supplies, including food, from entering the encampment. But shortly after that report, a spokeswoman for the governor said they would not block supplies.
The order is part of a broader effort to get protesters to leave the area around the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, where they have spent months camped out in non-violent protest of the $4 billion pipeline, which they say threatens the Native residents’ main water source and cuts through sacred burial sites.
During the protests, members of the Sioux tribe and their allies have been sprayed with water cannons in near-freezing temperatures, hit with rubber bullets (although local police denied it happened), and arrested by the hundreds. Most recently, a 21-year-old woman nearly lost her arm after her family said she was hit with a concussion grenade.
Note: We’ve updated this story and headline to convey the conflicting reports about the blockade between the local sheriff and the governor’s office.