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Dakota Protesters Use Social Media To Confuse Police Crackdown Efforts

REUTERS/Josh Morgan

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Protesters are urging Facebook users to create digital smokescreens in an attempt to thwart police raids at campsites near the Dakota oil pipeline.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe is calling upon its Facebook followers to check in at the Standing Rock Indian reservation’s social media page. Activists from around the country can help stymie local law enforcement’s ability to break up protesters and occupiers assembling to block the pipeline.

“The Morton County Sheriff’s Department has been using Facebook check-ins to find out who is at Standing Rock in order to target them in attempts to disrupt the prayer camps,” activists with the American Indian group wrote on Facebook Tuesday. “So water protectors are calling on everyone to check in at Standing Rock, North Dakota, to overwhelm and confuse them.”

Protesters and tribe members are illegally occupying vast stretches of private property in and around Dakota Access Pipeline construction cites. The company building the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners, received eminent domain permits in order to build the nearly 1,200-mile long project.

Demonstrators believe the pipeline’s construction would trample on tribal lands and destroy artifacts, as well poison waterways, including rivers such as the Missouri River and Lake Oahe. The pipeline is scheduled to cross 90 feet underneath the river.

They think the local sheriff’s department is using social media to track their movements, so getting more people to confuse the police will effectively camouflage protesters at the site.

The office said it hasn’t attempted to track individuals through Facebook, calling claims to the contrary rumors that are “absolutely false.”

The Obama administration halted construction on the $3.8 billion pipeline in September until the government can determine the effects it will have on the environment.

The Department of Justice and the Department of the Interior announced the pause in an area near the North Dakota’s Lake Oahe, a major water resource for the state’s Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.

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