On Wednesday, at 2 pm CST, law enforcement started clearing the main camp of the on-site protesters of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The encampment has been a central hub for the protesters for the last six months.
Not all protesters left the federal land willingly. AP reports that some were arrested in their final stand against President Donald Trump’s executive order that cleared the way for the construction of the pipeline.
Police begin arresting Dakota Access pipeline protesters for failing to meet deadline to leave North Dakota camp. https://t.co/axMrfxuwnB
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 22, 2017
Many of the protesters left peacefully, but witnesses and people watching Wednesday’s developments online were astonished to see some people light their belongings and tents on fire before vacating the area.
— Tyler Bauer (@T_Bauer97) February 22, 2017
#DAPL protestors are out fighting against pollution yet leave the country side looking like a landfill while burning trash piles everywhere
— Michael Shorey (@ShoreyMichael) February 22, 2017
However, protesters claim the act of burning the tents was not one of defiance, but of ceremony.
— Omar Villafranca (@OmarVillafranca) February 22, 2017
— Lana Kitchel (@sunstretch) February 22, 2017
The Dakota Access Pipeline has been a contentious issue for people across the political spectrum. The pipeline was blocked by order of the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers in December. However, one of the first actions by President Donald Trump in January was to give DAPL the green light himself, arguing that the pipeline will create American jobs and will be good for the economy.
Opponents argue that DAPL poses a risk to the local Native community’s drinking water and threatens sacred Native land. See a full timeline of events above, and decide for yourself how you feel about it.