Rally against Hennepin Co. Sheriff's involvement with N.D. pipeline

Activists rally against Hennepin County's involvement in the North Dakota pipeline protests.
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A protest against the North Dakota pipelines drew quite a crowd in Minneapolis Friday afternoon and evening.

Unicorn Riot said hundreds of activists gathered outside the Hennepin Sheriff's Office starting at 2:30 p.m. They rallied to voice their disapproval of the fact that the office recently sent deputies to assist with protests going on at the pipeline site in North Dakota.

A group of high schoolers even walked out on class, chanting "water is life."

According to Twitter posts, the students joined the rest of the activists in demanding Sheriff Richard Stanek take the forces out of North Dakota immediately.

The crowd made its way over to City Hall to occupy the building for a while. Eventually, Unicorn Riot said they were ordered to leave.

As of 8 p.m., some activists were still in the building and planned to spend the night there waiting for Stanek.

What's been going on in North Dakota?

The Dakota Access Pipeline is being built to deliver crude oil more than 1,100 miles from the Bakken region of North Dakota to Illinois, where it can be sent through existing lines to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Its route runs within a mile of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation near Cannon Ball. The tribe argues the pipeline threatens its water supply and the construction is violating sacred sites. They’ve been joined by supporters from around the country.

Recently, the officer-protester encounters there have not been very peaceful.

Thursday, 141 activists were arrested. That day, the Morton County Sheriff's Department said protesters threw rocks, molotov cocktails, logs, bottles and other debris at officers when they tried to remove them.

And over the weekend, 83 were arrested and officials reported being attacked by a drone.

Why is Hennepin Co. there?

Members of three Minnesota sheriff’s offices (Anoka, Hennepin and Washington counties) were sent to Morton County help.

Simply put, North Dakota asked for help and Minnesota is responding. You can get all the details here.

Since Hennepin County's involvement, Lt. Gov. Tina Smith has stated that she does not support that decision.

"Nor did we approve [Stanek's] decision to begin with," she wrote on Facebook.

The Sheriff's Office responded with its own Facebook post showing the decision had been authorized.

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