A months-long protest over the Dakota Access oil pipeline reached its most chaotic pitch yet when hundreds of law enforcement officers moved in to force activists off private property in North Dakota yesterday, reports the Associated Press. The nearly six-hour operation dramatically escalated the dispute over Native American rights and the project’s environmental impact, with officers in riot gear firing bean bags and pepper spray. Donnell Hushka of the Morton County Sheriff’s Department said 141 people were arrested. Among those arrested was a woman who pulled out a .38-caliber pistol and fired three times at officers, narrowly missing a sheriff’s deputy.
Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier said that the camp had been cleared by nightfall. “We’re not leaving the area,” he said. “We are just going to make sure that we maintain a presence in the area so the roadway stays open, and to keep individuals from camping on private land.” Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners is working to complete the 1,200-mile pipeline to carry oil from western North Dakota to Illinois. The route skirts near reservation land of the Standing Rock Sioux, who say it could endanger water supplies and disturb cultural sites.