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Protesters rally against Dakota Access across N.D. on Thanksgiving

MANDAN, N.D. -- About 300 protesters arrived in Mandan on Thanksgiving Day to get out word on their opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Jamie Reil, of Virginia, stands watch at the intersection of Mandan Avenue and Main Street in Mandan, N.D., on Thursday morning, Nov. 24, 2016. Reil said he came to North Dakota to join in the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. TOM STROMME/Bismarck Tribune
Jamie Reil, of Virginia, stands watch at the intersection of Mandan Avenue and Main Street in Mandan, N.D., on Thursday morning, Nov. 24, 2016. Reil said he came to North Dakota to join in the protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline. TOM STROMME/Bismarck Tribune

MANDAN, N.D. - About 300 protesters arrived in Mandan on Thanksgiving Day to get out word on their opposition to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The Morton County Sheriff's Department is also reporting that 350 to 400 protesters have also gathered at a hill, known as Turtle Island, which protesters say contained burial sites.

Around 7:50 a.m., law enforcement observed protesters building a wooden bridge across the water to gain access to the hill, according to Rob Keller, a spokesman for the sheriff's department.

Keller said one protester told officers they were "ready to die today" and another had said, "Remember '73?" referring to Wounded Knee.

Protesters also told officers this morning that they were planning to come to Mandan, according to Keller.

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Around 10 a.m., pipeline opponents showed up in downtown Mandan and stood at the intersection of East Main Street and Mandan Avenue.

Protesters blocked the nearby streets so that no traffic could pass through. Law enforcement sent an alert of the activity to Mandan and Bismarck residents around 9 a.m.

In Mandan, one group of protesters carried a banner that read, "No pilgrims, no pipeline."

Some shouted, "Shame on you, North Dakota!" In the center of the intersection, protesters set up several folding tables with pumpkins and a pig head. They also passed out sandwiches and drinks.

"They come at us with violence, we come back with prayer," said Jamey Reil, of Virginia, who was referring to the clash between police and protesters Sunday night at Backwater Bridge.

About 50 officers stood on East Main Street in Mandan across from the protesters. Hand-in-hand, protesters circled around the intersection.

Police arrested one individual in the nearby Burger King parking lot.

Around 11:15 a.m., officers told the protesters to leave the area or be arrested. Officers backed the protesters down the street, and the protesters had dispersed from East Main Street around 11:30 a.m.

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Law enforcement stand atop Turtle Hill on the Cannonball Ranch watching as protesters stand at the base while others stand across the water on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 24, 2016, in southern Morton County. A makeshift bridge placed by the protesters allowed them access to the private property. TOM STROMME/Bismarck Tribune
Law enforcement stand atop Turtle Hill on the Cannonball Ranch watching as protesters stand at the base while others stand across the water on Thursday afternoon, Nov. 24, 2016, in southern Morton County. A makeshift bridge placed by the protesters allowed them access to the private property. TOM STROMME/Bismarck Tribune

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