BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — Protesters at the demonstration against the Dakota Access pipeline are increasingly divided over how to stop the project, with militant younger activists seeking more aggressive tactics and an older crowd arguing for peaceful protest centered on prayer.
The differences came to a head last week after law enforcement officers in riot gear forced hundreds of protesters off an encampment on private property. In response, some demonstrators torched three vehicles on a bridge, creating a blockade that effectively cut off easy access to the pipeline construction zone and made it far harder for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and nearby residents to get to Bismarck for errands and medical appointments.
Many other protesters insist that their cause cannot resort to law breaking, and they support the threat of eviction that the main camp has issued against people who would cause problems.
“We don’t want people instigating things that are going to get out of hand. We don’t need them,” said Don Cuny, chief of security for the large camp near the confluence of the Missouri and Cannonball rivers.
With the potential for more violence, tribal elders have asked that children be removed from the camp.
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