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.
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.
However, protesters claim the act of burning the tents was not one of defiance, but of ceremony.
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.