Protestors and Police Face off Again in North Dakota

On Sunday, protestors of the Dakota Access Pipeline again clashed with police, this time over clearing a nearby bridge of a burned-out car from an earlier confrontation. Police met the protestors with tear gas and water cannons, a potentially life-threatening action as temperatures dip below 20 degrees in the area.

“As medical professionals, we are concerned for the real risk of loss of life due to severe hypothermia under these conditions,” the Standing Rock Medic & Healer Council said in a statement posted on Facebook.

Protestors claim they were clearing the bridge to “improve access to the camp for emergency services,” according to a statement from anti-pipeline groups. Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said the groups are concerned that "ambulances now have an extra 30 minutes to get to the hospital."

Police claim the bridge was shut down, “due to concerns about its structural integrity since the vehicle fires in October," according to the Bismarck Tribune.

The incident began Sunday at around 6 p.m. and resulted in the injury of hundreds of protestors according to Jade Begay, a spokeswoman for the Indigenous Environmental Network. Seven protestors were taken to the hospital and one was arrested. A local Cannon Ball school’s gymnasium was opened to aid demonstrators that were soaked by police water cannons.

Since the protests began, more than 400 protestors have been arrested, and police have become increasingly militarized; using pepper spray, tear gas, rubber bullets, tasers, and even sound weapons. The pipeline itself has been nearly completed, but the final permit to drill under the Missouri river after the Army Corps of Engineers called for “additional discussion and analysis” in its review of the project.