Protesters attempting to disrupt the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline are scaring nearby residents and commuters and threatening law enforcement officers, and state officials want it to stop.
According to Valley News Live, North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple says Sioux Tribal Chairman Dave Archambault told him that he has “lost control” of the Dakota Access Pipeline protesters.
“I have spoken with him regularly, and it’s clear that he has reached a point where he wishes it would remain 100 percent peaceful, but he’s told me many, many times that he is no longer in control in the camp or in any way over the protesters,” Dalrymple told Valley News Live.
Chairman Archambault disputed Dalrymple’s claim, saying, “I never told the Governor I lost control” of the protest.
“It would be helpful for [Archambault] to make a public call and broad call across the protest to those he already influences and those he hopes to influence, calls for them to move to a lawful point where the Army Corps says they can be. Stop allowing the projection of illegal activity all throughout the area,” North Dakota Lt. Gov. Drew Wrigley said on KFYR radio Thursday.
The pipeline protesters already physically threatened members of the media on Monday and according to Wrigley, protesters, many of whom conceal their identities with face masks, are blocking access roads to special education instructors on their way to work and harassing people in their cars.
“Outlaw the use of facemasks, and you’ll have a lot of these people who, by the way, have been doing the most egregious things, they’ll stop doing that activity. They’re wearing facemasks for a reason. They don’t want to be detected or maybe they’ve got other things in their background,” Wrigley said.
Wrigley explained how the protesters are harassing and “intimidating civilians who live and work in the area and according to law enforcement, some have already moved family members off their properties out of fear for their safety.”
“Now there’s a story of special education educators out in the St. Anthony area who have now written apparently a letter … and they’ve written it to the head of [North Dakota Public Instruction], Kirsten Baesler, and they are pointing out that they can’t get in there. They’re being harassed, intimidated, their vehicles are being stopped and redirected by people involved with the protest.”
Sheriff Paul Laney told KX4 radio on Wednesday that law enforcement have seen the protesters’ actions.
“You can’t overtake somebody else’s property, trash their equipment, assault the people on the property, and then say ‘we’re peaceful.’ It just makes no sense. It’s a slap in the face to every intelligent person alive,” Laney said.
He added, “We’ve had numerous threats against the lives of the officers here. Numerous threats of ‘they should all be shot,’ ‘I’d love to slit their throats.’ I saw one post where an individual had posted a double-barreled shotgun and said, ‘would someone send me a new one so I could go to North Dakota and kill all the pigs in North Dakota that deserve to die.'”