Pipeline protesters staying near camp

CANNON BALL, N.D. (AP) — Protesters trying to block the Dakota Access oil pipeline were staying near their encampment Saturday morning following two days of confrontations that resulted in more than a hundred arrests and a barricade of burned-out vehicles blocking a North Dakota highway.

A handful of people walked along the highway amid cloudy, chilly weather early Saturday as campfires burned at the nearby camp where hundreds of protesters are staying. About a half-dozen law enforcement vehicles were parked along the roadway.

As many as 50 protesters gathered Friday behind heavy plywood sheets and the burned vehicles, facing a line of concrete barriers, military vehicles and police in riot gear. A small group of people, some observers from Amnesty International, stayed into the evening after protest leaders asked people to return to camp.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier described the protesters as “non-confrontational but uncooperative,” and credited Standing Rock Sioux tribal members for helping to ease tensions.

Standing Rock has waged a protest for months against the nearly 1,200-mile pipeline being developed across four states by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners. The pipeline is slated to carry North Dakota crude oil to a shipping point in Patoka, Illinois.

The tribe argues that the pipeline is a threat to water and cultural sites. Protest encampments have grown to thousands of people, as the protest has drawn support from Native Americans and other people from around the country, including environmentalists and some celebrities.