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Pipeline opponents take protest to Bank of North Dakota

BISMARCK -- About 175 protesters gathered on the grounds of the Bank of North Dakota late Wednesday morning for prayer, song and testimony. The crowd later stopped near Fraine Barracks to protest construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, carryi...

Brig. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, right, Adjutant General of the North Dakota National Guard, watches Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, as law enforcement personnel monitor Dakota Access Pipeline protesters as they gathered at the Memorial to the Fallen in the Global War on Terrorism at Fraine Barracks in Bismarck. Gen. Dohrmann asked the large group of protesters not to assemble on the memorial site. The protesters complied, but only after praying, singing and a speech from a veteran. MIKE MCCLEARY / BISMARCK TRIBUNE
Brig. Gen. Alan Dohrmann, right, Adjutant General of the North Dakota National Guard, watches Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, as law enforcement personnel monitor Dakota Access Pipeline protesters as they gathered at the Memorial to the Fallen in the Global War on Terrorism at Fraine Barracks in Bismarck. Gen. Dohrmann asked the large group of protesters not to assemble on the memorial site. The protesters complied, but only after praying, singing and a speech from a veteran. MIKE MCCLEARY / BISMARCK TRIBUNE

BISMARCK - About 175 protesters gathered on the grounds of the Bank of North Dakota late Wednesday morning for prayer, song and testimony. The crowd later stopped near Fraine Barracks to protest construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, carrying signs and shouting "Save the water."

They were met with calls from some motorists and pedestrians, who yelled, "Go home," as they crossed the road to Fraine Barracks. A separate group raised signs supporting community rights. Officers urged the second group to refrain from engaging with the pipeline protesters.

Four protesters were arrested for criminal trespassing inside the bank and one of the four also was taken for resisting arrest. The suspects were to be processed at the Burleigh County Jail.

Adj. Gen. Alan Dohrmann of the North Dakota National Guard asked those gathered at the Memorial to the Fallen in the Global War on Terrorism near Fraine Barracks to leave. Eventually, the crowd complied and crossed back to the vicinity of the Bank of North Dakota, flanked by armed law enforcement from the Bismarck Police, North Dakota Highway Patrol, Mandan Police, Morton County Sheriff deputies, Burleigh County Sheriff deputies, Fargo Police and Cass County officials.

The 90-minute protest started at about 11:45 a.m. near Bank of North Dakota, moved toward Fraine Barracks during the noon hour and dispersed near the bank grounds about 1:15 p.m.

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Sgt. Mark Buschena, of the Bismarck Police Department, said law enforcement was not notified of the protest beforehand.

The Bank of North Dakota declined to comment on whether or not the building had been locked down in response to the demonstration.

Wednesday marks the third consecutive day of demonstrations by Dakota Access Pipeline protesters in Bismarck. Protesters rallied at the state Capitol grounds Monday before marching to the downtown area. On Tuesday afternoon, a group of protesters marched from United Tribes Technical College to the nearby U.S. Army Corps of Engineers office.

Chris Lembke of Mandan, N.D., who characterized himself as in support of the community, said about 30 attended an informal rally off bank grounds.

"I just wanted to come down and show my support for the community. The community needs a voice .... We are 100 percent for First Amendment rights and protesting. What we want is to ensure our community is safe, and, right now, it is not," he said. "That is a big failure of our bureaucracy, our federal and state, and local governments. All our law enforcement is being taking off the highways. Our travelers are not safe because of it.

"We aren't against the protesters. We just want the community to be safe and have our law enforcement back," he said.

About 100 Dakota Access Pipeline protesters pray Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, at The Memorial to The Fallen in Global War on Terrorism after marching from the Bank of North Dakota to the North Dakota National Guard Fraine Barracks in Bismarck. MIKE MCCLEARY / BISMARCK TRIBUNE
About 100 Dakota Access Pipeline protesters pray Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2016, at The Memorial to The Fallen in Global War on Terrorism after marching from the Bank of North Dakota to the North Dakota National Guard Fraine Barracks in Bismarck. MIKE MCCLEARY / BISMARCK TRIBUNE

Related Topics: DAKOTA ACCESS PIPELINE
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