Judge Issues Restraining Order As Pipeline Protest Grows

CANNON BALL, N.D. – A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday to protesters interfering with Dakota Access Pipeline construction as pipeline opponents continued to grow in numbers.

U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland granted a request from Dakota Access LLC to issue a temporary restraining order to Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault, Tribal Council member Dana Yellow Fat and other defendants.

The order prevents the protestors from unlawfully interfering with pipeline construction or workers’ access to the 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 in the order.

Meanwhile, pipeline construction near the Missouri River north of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation was on hold on Tuesday as numbers of pipeline 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 with the Indigenous Environmental Network. “People are coming from all over the world.”

Yellow Fat said he’s met people from every state and some foreign countries, including Germany and Italy.

“It’s grown exponentially,” he said. “They understand what we’re fighting for and they understand that water is a right. Clean water is a right, it’s not a privilege.”

Standing Rock opposes the Missouri River crossing because tribal members fear a pipeline leak would threaten their water supply and other sacred sites. Standing Rock has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which issued a permit for the pipeline, and a hearing is scheduled for Aug. 24 in Washington, D.C.

Tribal leaders have been in discussions with law enforcement about the protest, including addressing concerns about safety for protesters along Highway 1806, Yellow Fat said.

“We’ve got to find a way to make it a little safer for everybody,” Yellow Fat said.

Those demonstrating range in age from young children to tribal elders. Marcella LeBeau, 96, a Cheyenne River Sioux elder was among those enduring hot temperatures Monday to sit in a ditch adjacent to the road being used to access pipeline construction.

“I wanted to support the Standing Rock people. My ancestors are from here,” she said.

Braun, who was the first to set up the Sacred Stone Camp near Cannon Ball on April 1 to protest the pipeline, wiped away tears after additional supporters arrived late Monday to join the demonstration.

“We as campers of Sacred Stone Camp feel overwhelming love,” said Braun, wearing a shirt that read “Mni Wiconi,” water is life.

While the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has received support from many other tribal nations, the protest is not limited to Native Americans.

“All races have come because this is not just a native issue, this is a human issue,” said Dustin Thompson, who is among those at the Sacred Stone Camp.

Although most of those demonstrating have remained peaceful, emphasizing prayer over violence, several have been arrested for disorderly conduct.

Dakota Access says in court papers that Chairman Archambault, Yellow Fat, five other named defendants and “Jane and John Does” have “engaged in increasingly obstructionist and dangerous behavior” to prevent pipeline construction. The company says in court papers that at least two protesters were armed with knives while others threw bottles and rocks at vehicles or made threats.

“We are disappointed that there are those who will put the lives of others in jeopardy,” said Lisa Dillinger, a Dakota Access spokeswoman. “We will continue to put the safety of our workers and those who live in the area as our top priority.”

Yellow Fat said Tuesday he hadn’t been served with the restraining order, but he said it wasn’t necessary.

“All I’ve asked for is peace and prayer,” he said. “Why would they want to keep me from praying and keeping my people safe?”

Dakota Access states in court records it costs more than $75,000 for each day of lost construction, and the damages are expected to increase significantly for each day construction is halted.

A hearing is set for 2:30 p.m. Aug. 25 in Eagle Courtroom of the U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota in Bismarck to determine whether a preliminary injunction should be issued in the Dakota Access suit against the protestors.

19 Responses

  1. Oil Fuels Our Life

    Yeah that never happened and was just a rumor. Don’t be like the rest of the blind sheep! Also, don’t these people have better things to do like get a job??? I’m also pretty sure these people drove vehicles to this protest and use petroleum products everyday. A little hypocritical ?

    1. Cole

      They’re not protesting oil, they’re protesting running an oil pipeline across one of the largest rivers in the United States!!! There is a difference. A pipeline break into that River would effect a lot of people and habitat. I realize we’re dependent on oil, but I also like clean water and areas to recreate.

      1. Sask-watch70

        Pipelines already cross this river…in fact there is a crossing just to the north of this site and to the west of Hazelton. Does anyone even know that it’s there? And that it’s been there for over 30 years?

    2. Try drinking oil, and see what fuels life!!! That river is a major supply of drinking and irrigation water to a major part of that area, and it will also cross two other major rivers including the Mississippi!!! Don’t care what’s in your water? Move to Flint!!!!

    1. Lois Hoffmeyer

      Well then you guys should get rid of your transportation and run around naked, oh don’t forget you can’t heat your homes, use wood for heat, oh wait trees are sacred, pipeline is the safest way to be transported

      1. Scott Rhoades

        Or we switch to renewable sources so that we don’t need the extra oil, providing thousands of jobs in the process.

  2. Cindy Hawk

    I’m a native from Turtle Mountains. I’m not there with all the protesters but I am with each and everyone of you in Prayer. Thank you for standing up for what’s right, God Bless

  3. Bobby E Burden

    Bobby B

    While the company is waiting for all the protesters to go home, how about taking all your employees and get them started on repairs and clean up on old damaged and outdated pipe lines. Then worry about installing new pipe lines. The protesters are actually trying to save your families health right along with their own families. Try and care more for humans than the $ for a change.
    As for the protesters and supporters, KEEP GOING,NEVER GIVE IN AND NEVER GIVE UP.

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