The protesters live-streamed video from the worksite on social media after sunrise and before the authorities arrived. The protests were calling for the removal of Line 3.
“We’re here in a peaceful, safe way to show you that this can’t go through,” one female protester can be heard telling a Douglas County sheriff’s deputy on a Facebook video, as he informs the group that they are trespassing and need to leave.
“We’re not moving because we’re trying to make a point,” another protester says.
Authorities fired the equivalent of a warning shot in a meeting with enviros the day before, warning them “to stay off the work site.” But the whole point of the illegal interruption is to create a media buzz that turns the vital pipeline replacement project into a repeat performance of the Dakota Access showdown.
The arrests involved multiple squads and were mostly peaceful, Dalbec said, save for one person who “had to be taken to the ground.” The six people arrested had all left the roadside and went onto the worksite, he said.
Parts of County Road W, also known as Military Road, were shut down by Douglas County sheriff’s deputies while negotiations and subsequent arrests were being made. Protests along the road ended after the arrests, Dalbec said.
Work resumed in the pipeline right of way adjacent to County Road W shortly after 10:30 a.m.
The arrested activists were still being held in the Douglas County Jail as of Tuesday night waiting for fundraising efforts to bail them out. While three were from out of state, the other three appear to be involved with the northern Minnesota-based activist group Honor the Earth.
Honor the Earth’s Tara Houska said that resistance movements have grown, and will continue to grow, in the wake of the Dakota Access pipeline protests in North Dakota.
“There are a lot of calls coming from the ground to join (the resistance),” Houska said. “A lot of people that were in the Dakota Access fight were from Minnesota and Wisconsin, and those folks are not willing to let this go through the treaty lands.”
The small-scale showdown may be just a dress rehearsal for something much bigger planned for the Enbridge 3 pipeline permitting process now underway in Minnesota.
Kylie Lemley, also of Honor the Earth, said Tuesday’s arrests can send a message to those involved in the review process in Minnesota.
“This is something that could considerably be brought to Minnesota and nobody wants another Standing Rock,” Lemley said. “I think (the protesters) were brave, I think they were following their hearts and I am just hopeful that everybody takes this as what it is — a sign for what is to possibly come.”
Enbridge has made it clear that it has a zero tolerance policy for activists who jeopardize the safety of others and themselves, not to mention the completion of a pipeline that markedly improves environmental protection. But the pipeline project presents a big-time opportunity for environmental extremists to raise their profile and funding. Are Minnesota authorities paying attention?