A large number of protesters in the US state of North Dakota have once again demanded a proposed oil pipeline project be scrapped.
Police in riot gear clashed on Wednesday with demonstrators seeking to halt construction of the Dakota Access pipeline, which will move crude oil through four states from North Dakota to Illinois.
Police used pepper spray and teargas against peaceful protesters.
According to reports, several protesters waded through waist-deep water in an attempt to reach property owned by the controversial pipeline’s developer in Cannon Ball, North Dakota.
The US Army Corps of Engineers, which owns some of the land where the pipeline was planned to be constructed and has been involved in the permitting process, requested Morton County assist them in removing any trespassers who enter Corps land.
Police said protesters were building an illegal, man-made, wooden bridge across the Cantapeta Creek, a report said. Law enforcement officers demolished the make-shift bridge.
At least two demonstrators were arrested by police. The protesters have been demonstrating for several months, and dozens have been arrested. Police expect additional protests, and possibly more arrests, in the coming days.
‘US mulling alternate routes’
US President Barack Obama said on Tuesday night that his government was working on finding ways to reroute the pipeline because of the concerns raised by Native American tribes protesting against its construction.
“My view is that there is a way for us to accommodate sacred lands of Native Americans. And I think that right now the Army Corps is examining whether there are ways to reroute this pipeline,” Obama said in an interview with online news site Now This.
A number of Native American tribes, as well as activists and celebrities, are opposed to the pipeline, claiming it threatens local water supplies and sacred tribal sites.
They have been protesting for several months, and hundreds of protesters have been arrested since August, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department said.
The 1,885-km (1,172-mile) pipeline, being built by Energy Transfer Partners, would offer the fastest route to bring Bakken shale oil from North Dakota to oil refineries in the US Gulf Coast.