Thousands of Native Americans have been camping out in North Dakota since April to protest against a pipeline that is meant to cross sacred burial grounds and the Missouri river - the main water source for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
according to rapporteur report from aljazeera, link , Last week, some protesters moved their camp directly in the path of the proposed pipeline as construction nears the river, but on Thursday morning, police descended on the camp with a show of force not yet seen in the months of peaceful protests.
Clad in riot gear and backed by armoured vehicles, the police cleared the protest camp, using sound cannons, pepper spray, taser guns, and shotguns said to contain beanbags against the protesters.
More than 100 people were arrested, including elders praying peacefully in the roadway, according to the Morton County Sheriff Department.
The department said a protester fired three shots at police, but Al Jazeera could not independently verify this allegation.
Some protesters shouted at police, built and lit fire to barricades, and a few threw water bottles and logs at the officers as tensions rose, but most remained nonviolent as protest leaders urged colleagues to fall back from the superior government force.
Police continued to march south into the night, blocked only by a burning barricade set up by protesters as dusk fell.
A protester calls on his colleagues to step back as over 100 heavily armed police push towards their protest camp. [Jason Patinkin/Al Jazeera]
Protesters built barricades and set them ablaze as heavily armed police approached the protest camp. [Jason Patinkin/Al Jazeera]
Heavily armed police march on a camp where Native Americans prevented construction of an oil pipeline. [Jason Patinkin/Al Jazeera]
Protesters confront police over ground the Lakota tribe considers as sacred burial grounds but which the Dakota Access oil company dug up earlier this year. [Jason Patinkin/Al Jazeera]
Police move on the camp blocking pipeline construction as Native American protesters stand in defiance. [Jason Patinkin/Al Jazeera]
A protester yells for his colleagues to stand down as heavily armed police approach a barricade. [Jason Patinkin/Al Jazeera]
A protester waves a tribal flag as a phalanx of police move on a barricade. [Jason Patinkin/Al Jazeera]
Protesters retreat after police took over their camp, arrested protesters, and used pepper spray. [Jason Patinkin/Al Jazeera]
A protester holds an eagle feather and sings a prayer as police move across land considered to be sacred burial grounds but in the way of an oil pipeline. [Jason Patinkin/Al Jazeera]
By nightfall, the protesters had moved back to a bridge where they set up another burning barricade as police continued to press south past the protest camp along the pipeline route. [Jason Patinkin/Al Jazeera]
A protester pours milk over his face after being pepper sprayed by police. [Jason Patinkin/Al Jazeera]
Protesters stand at a barricade in a failed attempt to block police movement south through their protest camp. [Jason Patinkin/Al Jazeera]