BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A spokesman for North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple says the governor has no intention of blocking food and supplies from coming into a camp where people have gathered to protest the Dakota Access pipeline.
Dalrymple on Monday issued a “mandatory evacuation” for the camp “to safeguard against harsh winter conditions.”
Dalrymple spokesman Jeff Zent says the evacuation order has been “misconstrued” by some as giving authorities the ability to block food and supplies from coming in or out of the encampment. Zent says that is “not the governor’s intent.”
The 1,172-mile pipeline is nearly complete except for a small section beneath a Missouri River reservoir near the encampment, which is about 50 miles south of Bismarck.
Several Dakota Access pipeline protesters are suing Morton County, the city of Mandan and North Dakota law enforcement officials, arguing their civil rights were violated during a clash with authorities earlier this month.
The National Lawyers Guild’s Water Protector Legal Collective filed the lawsuit Monday in North Dakota federal court. The lawsuit alleges Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirschmeier and others used excessive force against protesters on Nov. 20 at a blockaded bridge on a state highway.
Authorities used tear gas, rubber bullets and sprayed water at protesters they say assaulted officers with rocks and burning logs. Organizers said at least 17 protesters were taken to the hospital, some for hypothermia and one for a serious arm injury. Authorities say one officer was injured.
The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages.