A protest of the multi-state, $3.8 million oil pipeline turned violent Saturday when members of a Native American tribe in North Dakota and private security forces clashed as construction crews began work on the project.
Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Donnell Preskey told reporters four security guards not affiliated with law enforcement and two guard dogs were injured as several hundred protesters living in the Standing Rock Sioux reservation confronted pipeline workers at the site.
One of the security officers was taken to a hospital, while the two guard dogs were taken to veterinary clinic, Preskey said. She said there weren’t any reports of protestors being injured. Tribe spokesman Steve Sitting Bear disagreed, telling reporters that security dogs bit six protesters and a young child. At least 30 people were pepper-sprayed during the altercation, he added.
The confrontation comes as protesters continue to make waves both in Morton County North Dakota, where the oil pipeline is slated to begin, and in Washington, D.C.
Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe met outside the steps of the Washington, D.C., courthouse Aug. 25 to protest the construction of the pipeline, which they say would wreak havoc on their native lands and cause widespread water contamination.