Standing Rock protesters had a harrowing encounter with police on MLK Day

Protesters fighting the Dakota Access oil pipeline were arrested and allegedly tear gassed by law enforcement on Monday in the most intense episode at the ongoing Standing Rock protests since the Army Corps of Engineers halted construction on the controversial energy project last month.

At least three people were arrested for trespassing after a group of nearly 200 protesters converged at a pipeline drilling pad on Monday afternoon. According to Reuters, the three were accused by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department of cutting a wire fence and tampering with the industrial lighting used in the area. The Grand Forks Herald reported that a number of protesters cited Martin Luther King Jr. Day as the impetus for their actions.

Activists also assembled on the nearby Backwater Bridge—site of some of the most violent police action against NoDAPL protests in past months. Video posted by the Morton County Sheriff’s Department shows protesters standing at a barricade on the bridge.

There, witnesses claim, protesters were attacked by armed police, who allegedly fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the crowd in the freezing cold. I have reached out to the Morton County Sherriff’s Department and will update this post if I receive a response.

Activists have been protesting at the Dakota Access Pipeline site since the spring of 2016. According to the MCSD, 589 people have been arrested as part of the NoDAPL protests since August 10.