Dozens of people remain at DAPL protest camp after evacuation deadline

Published: Feb. 22, 2017 at 9:18 PM CST
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Dakota Access Pipeline protesters established the Oceti Sakowin camp in April 2016. The population of the site grew to 10,000, and 10 months later a small group of demonstrators who were ordered to vacate the property remain.

The deadline given by the Army Corps of Engineers and North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum to leave the camp, or face arrest, was Wednesday at 2 p.m.

A majority have left, but approximately 100 refuse to abandon the camp, and a handful of those activists were arrested Wednesday.

Fire and rain lingered in the air early Wednesday morning outside the Oceti Sakowin protest camp.

Protesters set fire to structures they considered sacred. At least half a dozen buildings went up in flames throughout the day.

Two people from the camp were taken by ambulance and treated for burns - a woman and a 12-year-old boy. Explosions also occurred while fires were burning, possibly caused by propane tanks.

While the buildings burned, law enforcement attempted to negotiate with some protesters who indicated they wanted to be arrested peacefully.

"We're not advancing on them, we're still trying to work through the process of encouraging these kind of arrest-able ceremony to take place," says Lt. Tom Iverson, North Dakota Highway Patrol.

No consensus could be reached after hours of discussions.

"We are a peaceful, prayerful encampment, and we will be in passive resistance," says Charles Whalen, New York.

At 4 p.m. police ended the stalemate and began making arrests. Eleven demonstrators were arrested during the day's activity.

One protester claimed he was injured while being detained.

Access to the camp is now closed. No one is allowed in, but people are still allowed to leave.