- The Washington Times - Monday, November 14, 2016

The North Dakota state capitol was locked down Monday to stop hundreds of Dakota Access protesters from entering and refusing to leave, as they have done in the past.

“Based off of past experience, that seems to be their intent, is to unlawfully gather and interrupt government functions,” Lt. Tom Iverson of the North Dakota Highway Patrol told the Bismarck Tribune.

Instead, demonstrators remained outside the capitol building in Bismarck praying, singing and chanting anti-pipeline slogans such as, “Oil and water do not mix!”

Earlier this month, officers arrested more than a dozen protesters who staged a sit-in inside the state capitol. Another three were arrested for refusing the leave the lawn of the governor’s residence.

The lockdown comes a day before the #NoDAPL National Day of Action organized by foes of the 1,172-mile pipeline, which has been held up since September by the Obama administration in order to review a previously approved permit.

About 200 U.S. events are planned for Tuesday’s mass demonstration, primarily outside Army Corps of Engineers offices, federal buildings and banks that have helped finance the $3.7 billion pipeline, The Associated Press reported.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, whose reservation straddles North Dakota and South Dakota, and national environmental groups have called for shutting down the project over concerns about water quality and historic relics.

In North Dakota, the pipeline is finished except for a 1,100-foot stretch at the Missouri River and Lake Oahe. Nearly all of the pipeline is built on private land, but comes within a half-mile of the Standing Rock reservation.

Protesters began occupying federal land for anti-pipeline encampments in August near Cannon Ball, North Dakota. Local law enforcement has made nearly 500 arrests involving trespassing on the construction site, setting fires on roads and bridges, blocking highways and throwing projectiles at officers.

The tribe has raised concerns that the pipeline, which would carry about 500,000 gallons of crude per day from North Dakota’s Bakken field to Patoka, Illinois, would harm the water supply in the event of a leak.

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