Dakota pipeline protests spread to other U.S. cities

Protests over the construction of a pipeline in North Dakota that opponents say would desecrate Native American lands have spread to cities across the country, including Atlanta, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

Twenty-two protesters were arrested Tuesday after blocking construction equipment at two sites along the proposed route of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The arrests come as people across the country took part in a day of solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. The tribe has said the pipeline threatens their water supply and sacred burial grounds, and they sued the Army Corps of Engineers for permitting the Energy Transfer Partners pipeline to begin construction near the sacred Missouri River.

On Friday, a federal judge denied the tribe’s request to stop the pipeline’s construction. Shortly after the judge issued his order, the Justice Department and the U.S. Army and Interior Department put a temporary hold on construction at certain sites along the Missouri River until they could review the project.

The protests were aimed at the portions of the pipeline that are allowed to move forward.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department in North Dakota, which has been posting updates on Facebook, said 22 people were charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal trespass and criminal mischief. Two protesters who chained themselves to heavy equipment for hours faced additional charges of hindering law enforcement and disorderly conduct.

Police said when officers arrived, they found protesters on private property near Glen Ullin in Morton County.

Opponents of the pipeline live streamed their encounters with the police, who said they were staffing additional personnel.

An arrest warrant also was issued for Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman, which the Committee to Protect Journalists quickly condemned.

The chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has vowed the coalition of tribes will explore all options to stop the entire pipeline that he said has already destroyed ancestral lands.

In other parts of the country Tuesday, crowds gathered outside of federal buildings, shutting down highways and planning calls to action to get local government involved in opposing the pipeline.

Demonstrations took place at more than 100 events including in the cities of St. Paul, Minnesota, Detroit, Boston and Louisville, Kentucky, in addition to Canada, Japan and Portugal. Opponents of the pipeline shouted their protests at a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia where President Barack Obama spoke.

Former Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, D-Vt., also spoke at a rally in front of the White House to raise awareness about climate change and support the native tribes. He called on the president to ensure the pipeline gets a full environmental and cultural review before it is allowed to proceed.