Dakota Access pipeline protest site cleared after police in riot gear enter main camp

Scott Olson/Getty Images(CANNONBALL, N.D.) — The protest site for the Dakota Access pipeline has been cleared after some demonstrators refused to leave Wednesday, when a deadline for evacuation passed.

The Oceti Sakowin camp was cleared as of 2:09 p.m. local time, a spokesperson for the North Dakota Joint Information Center told ABC News.

About 50 demonstrators who remained in the camp were present when law enforcement made announcements to disperse or be arrested, according to the North Dakota JIC. About two dozen people who did not comply were arrested.

While many protesters exited the camp voluntarily throughout the day, law enforcement arrested about 46 people total Thursday as the process to clear the camp progressed.

One veterans group occupying a tent refused to leave voluntarily, the North Dakota JIC said. The group informed law enforcement that they would not be violent but would only go with passive resistance, so they were carried out of the camp by authorities.

 “I am very happy to say that we finally introduced rule of law in the Oceti camp,” said Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. “I am hopeful that this announcement brings us closer to finality in what has been an incredibly challenging time for our citizens and law enforcement professionals. Having dealt with riots, violence, trespassing and property crimes, the people of Morton County are looking forward to getting back to their normal lives.”

This morning, more than 200 law enforcement officers clad in full riot gear entered the main encampment for those protesting the Dakota Access pipeline near Cannonball, North Dakota, where some people remained despite state and federal orders to leave.

ABC News observed lines of military-style Humvees entering the camp, which is at the edge of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation.

Officials said most people left the soggy campsite peacefully on Wednesday before the 2 p.m. deadline, amid concerns about spring flooding. But as many as 50 people remained there Wednesday night, and authorities were still deciding this morning how to remove them.

Activists protesting the four-state Dakota Access crude oil pipeline told ABC News on Wednesday that they are committed to staying and estimated that dozens would remain in the Oceti Sakowin camp.

 On Wednesday, 11 people were arrested outside the camp at its main entrance, outside a barrier put up protesters to keep out authorities. Those who were arrested were charged with obstruction of a government function, a class B misdemeanor, Gov. Doug Burgum said at a news conference that night.

The protesters lit about 20 fires on Wednesday, which were characterized as ceremonial, with many saying they would rather burn camp structures than have authorities seize and destroy them. Two people in the camp were injured as a result of the fires, including one person with severe burns who had to be airlifted to Minneapolis for treatment.

Burgum set up a travel assistance center to offer camp residents water, snacks, a food voucher, a personal hygiene kit, a health and wellness assessment, hotel lodging for one night, a taxi voucher to local bus terminal and bus fare for a return trip home, and transportation was provided from the Oceti Sakowin camp to the assistance center in Bismarck.

"This free service will provide protesters with support as they prepare for their return home," Burgum's office said in a Facebook post on Tuesday night. "All camp residents are encouraged to take advantage of these amenities."

 Last week Burgum signed an emergency evacuation order for the camp that reaffirmed a Feb. 22 deadline set by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe began coordinating a cleanup in late January, but state officials said it wasn't happening fast enough. The governor's emergency evacuation order cited increasing temperatures and the threat of flooding as the impetus for accelerating the camp's cleanup.

"Warm temperatures have accelerated snowmelt in the area of the Oceti Sakowin protest camp, and the National Weather Service reports that the Cannonball River should be on the watch for rising water levels and an increased risk of ice jams later this week," the statement from Burgum's office read.

"Due to these conditions, the governor's emergency order addresses safety concerns to human life, as anyone in the floodplain is at risk for possible injury or death. The order also addresses the need to protect the Missouri River from the waste that will flow into the Cannonball River and Lake Oahe if the camp is not cleared and the cleanup expedited," the statement added.

The Cannonball River is a tributary of the Missouri River.

The 1,172-mile Dakota Access pipeline is nearly finished, except for a 1.25-mile segment, part of which will run under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir in just upstream of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation. Construction of this final phase has been the focus of a contentious legal battle and massive protests in recent months.

While the Army Corps says this area is federally owned land, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe cites an 1851 treaty that it says designates the land for Native American tribes. The tribe, which claims its members were never meaningfully consulted before construction began, sued in July to block the pipeline. That lawsuit is pending, and the Army Corps and the company behind the pipeline argued in court papers that they followed a standard review process.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has been at the forefront of the fight against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline. The protests have drawn thousands of Native Americans, environmental activists and their allies to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe reservation. The protesters, who call themselves water protectors, argue that the pipeline will threaten the reservation's water supply and traverse sacred sites.

Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based developer behind the project, has said that "concerns about the pipeline's impact on local water supply are unfounded" and "multiple archaeological studies conducted with state historic preservation offices found no sacred items along the route."

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Passenger who forced Honolulu emergency landing tells FBI ‘we all have’ terroristic thoughts

Passenger who forced Honolulu emergency landing tells FBI 'we all have' terroristic thoughtsiStock/Thinkstock(HONOLULU) -- The Turkish national who forced the emergency landing of American Airlines flight 31 in Honolulu on Friday allegedly told FBI agents "we all have" terroristic ideas, and pantomimed shooting an agent during his interview, according to a criminal complaint filed in Hawaii on Monday.

En route from Los Angeles to Honolulu, 25-year-old Anil Uskanli alarmed passengers and crewmembers while acting "strange," forcing the pilot lock down the flight deck and prompting the U.S. Pacific Command to send two F-22 fighter jets to escort the aircraft into Hawaii.

F22's taking off from Honolulu to escort American Airlines flight 31 #Hawaii pic.twitter.com/8cauepQ7Yt

— Anthony Quintano 🌴 (@AnthonyQuintano) May 19, 2017

"We all have those ideas," he said when asked if he ever had terroristic thoughts.

According to the complaint, Uskanli boarded the plane without any luggage, carrying only a phone, laptop, charger, and miscellaneous items in his pockets.

Not long after he was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing at LAX after breaching a security door while under the influence, crew escorted him down the jet bridge in a wheelchair.

Once aboard the Airbus 321, he plopped into a seat in first class. At a flight attendant's repeated urging, Uskanli eventually moved to 35B, his assigned seat.

After the flight took off, Uskanli began repeatedly moving his laptop from the seatback pocket to the space under the seat, "uttering things and talking to himself," one passenger told FBI agents.

He then got up to use the lavatory, but failed to lock the door, the complaint adds. When another passenger attempted to enter the lavatory, Uskanli allegedly began "yelling and pounding on the walls."

After flight attendants escorted him back to his seat, they found what appeared to be cigarette pieces around the toilet.

A short time later, Uskanli "wrapped a blanket around his head, picked up his laptop," and shuffled towards the front of the aircraft.

A flight attendant used a beverage cart to block the aisle, but Uskanli shoved back, then set his laptop on the cart, triggering immediate alarm among the crew. The flight attendant was concerned following reports that terrorists are attempting to target aircraft with explosives concealed inside electronics, the complaint explains.

While an off-duty law enforcement officer steered Uskanli back to his seat, a flight attendant barricaded the laptop in the rear of the aircraft -- standard procedure for handling a possible explosive device. To further mitigate the impact of a potential in-flight bomb, the pilot descended to 5,000 feet, according to the complaint.

Uskanli was restrained with duct tape, witnesses say.

Upon landing, Uskanli was escorted off the flight by law enforcement, and bomb technicians and canine units seized the laptop and secured the plane. No explosives were found inside the laptop, authorities say.

Uskanli's urinalysis came back positive for benzodiazepine. Other field sobriety tests indicated he may have been high on stimulants or cannabis, according to the complaint.

During a post-incident interview with FBI agents, Uskanli "made a gun shape with his fingers and pretended to shoot,"simulated a ‘chopping motion’" at an agent's neck, and threatened to kill a female agent, according to the complaint.

Asked if he planned to hurt anyone, he told agents, "it depends on the day."

He was charged with interfering with a flight crew, and was scheduled to appear in court Monday.

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