Judge rules against Bakken protesters in North Dakota
Pipeline construction there on hold as protest grows
CANNON BALL, N.D. — A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday against protesters interfering with the Dakota Access pipeline construction as opponents continued to grow in number.
U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland granted a request from pipeline developer Dakota Access to issue a temporary restraining order to Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault, Tribal Council member Dana Yellow Fat and others.
The order prevents the protesters from unlawfully interfering with pipeline construction or workers’ access at the North Dakota site.
“Lawful assembly and peaceful protest is the hallmark of our democracy; however, threats of physical harm or violence and criminal activity is unacceptable,” Hovland wrote.
Pipeline construction near the Missouri River north of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation was on hold Tuesday as numbers of opponents continued to grow.
“We’re ready for 5,000 campers,” said Joye Braun, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe and an organizer. “People are coming from all over the world.”
Standing Rock opposes the Missouri River crossing because tribal members fear a leak would threaten their water supply and sacred sites. Standing Rock has filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers, which issued a permit.
Although most protesters have remained peaceful, several have been arrested on disorderly conduct charges.
Dakota Access said in court papers that at least two protesters were armed with knives and others threw bottles and rocks or made threats.
“We will continue to put the safety of our workers and those who live in the area as our top priority,” said Lisa Dillinger, a Dakota Access spokeswoman.