Police Move in on Water Protectors Who Remain at Standing Rock

June Sapiel, an Indian American from ME, also rejected the idea that the protesters in North Dakota had failed. "Time is of the essence, but, as the judge said, the lawsuit doesn't become irrelevant if they turn on the tap, because he can always direct them to turn it off".

"We really would like them (protesters) to get the culturally sensitive items out so when they bulldoze and clean out the camp they aren't dealing with any of those things", said Maxine Herr, a spokeswoman for the Morton County Sheriff's Department.

Last month President Trump signed an executive order clearing the way of the pipeline to be completed.

The arrests occurred a day after the Army Corps of Engineers ordered protesters to clear the camp by a 2 p.m. Wednesday deadline. "This isn't just about Standing Rock, but all the downstream communities who get their water from the Missouri River".

By 2:09 p.m. Central Time, it was over.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued notices earlier this month saying it was closing federal property in the area that it managed due to "the likely event of flooding in the area", stating that protest camps were located in a potentially flood-prone spot.

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The status of the remaining protest camps is uncertain.

Tens of thousands of environmentalists and Indian American tribes have settled at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers to derail the project, which would shuttle 500,000 barrels of Bakken oil from North Dakota to IL.

"I don't know if they had second thoughts, or we scared them", Herr said.

While the Army Corps says this area is federally owned land, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe cites an 1851 treaty that it says designates the land for Native American tribes.

The AP reports that most protestors left the camp Wednesday ahead of the evacuation deadline and that their departure was peaceful.

"I'd like to see what the summer looks like here", he said.

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For the Standing Rock Sioux and other opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the protesters' departure means the fight has moved to the courtroom.

The protest camp has at time housed thousands of people but it has dwindled to just 200 as the pipeline battle has largely moved into the courts.

Despite the setbacks, Melaine Stoneman, a camp leader, said protesters were not dismayed.

Authorities planned to enter the camp Thursday morning to continue cleaning up. The state sent a bus to the site on Thursday to transport anyone to Bismarck, where officials were doling out basic necessities, along with hotel and bus vouchers.

Some of the praying protesters said burning the structures - which appeared to include a yurt and a teepee - was part of the ceremony of leaving.

As many as 100 demonstrators were in the camp, according to activists, but authorities estimated 50. "The order also addresses the need to protect the Missouri River from the waste that will flow into the Cannonball River and Lake Oahe if the camp is not cleared and the cleanup expedited", the statement added.

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A policy adviser to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe could not immediately confirm who set the structures ablaze.

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