Police in North Dakota arrested 76 people at Standing Rock Wednesday afternoon, as the Army Corp of Engineers cleared the way for the Dakota Access Pipeline to continue construction through Native American land.
Water protectors had set up a new camp, the Last Child Camp, and lit a sacred fire near where construction is expected to begin any day, vowing to stop the controversial pipeline which violates the sovereign treaty rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and threatens to contaminate the water supply for millions of North Dakota residents.
Armed police used bulldozers and sound cannons to destroy the camp, put out the sacred fire, and carry out the arrests. Morton County sheriff's office spokesman Rob Keller said it was too soon to say what the protesters would be charged with, according to The Guardian.
"A lot of water protectors really felt that we needed to make some sort of stand as far as treaty rights," said Linda Black Elk, a member of the Catawba Nation, to The Guardian. "We basically started to see police mobilizing from all directions. Someone came along and told us we had about 15 minutes before the camp would get raided."
"There were a lot of people who felt like the prospect of treaty rights was something worth getting arrested over," she added.
The raids came after MG Malcolm Frost, U.S. Army chief of public affairs, said that the government was acting on Trump’s order "to expeditiously review requests for approvals to construct and operate the Dakota Access pipeline compliance with the law," according to The Guardian.
While some early reports suggested that the Sherrif's department was burning down tipis at the camp, this appears to be based on an article published by the Alternative Media Syndicate which illustrated their story with a still from the movie "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" "for illustrative purposes to draw the analogy to the ethnic cleansing still happening today."
Several sources reported that Water Protectors were able to dismantle their tipis before being forced from the camp.
An earlier version of this story reported that "Police in North Dakota arrested 76 people at Standing Rock in a raid where they also set tipis on fire, as the Army Corp of Engineers cleared the way for the Dakota Access pipeline to continue construction through Native American land."
This was incorrect. No tipis were burned.
Originally published Feb. 1 2017. Updated Feb. 2, 2016 at 15:59.