“They have deliveries, retailers that are delivering to them – we will turn around any of those services,” Maxine Herr, a spokeswoman from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, has said, as cited by Reuters.
Trucks with “anything that goes to sustain living there,” including food, building materials as well as propane tanks, will be turned back.
Those violating the order, both individuals and businesses ferrying supplies, can be stopped, questioned and face a fine as high as $1,000, Herr said, according to the Bismarck Tribune. According to Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong, the measure has not been yet enforced on Tuesday and no supplies coming to the campsite have been stopped.
“They need to evacuate,” Herr said, as cited by the Tribune. “The executive order is clear that it’s public safety. If they ignore it, they have to live with the consequences of potentially freezing to death.”
There are, however, conflicting reports on measures law enforcements are going to take to make sure that anti-pipeline protesters comply with the governor’s evacuation order.
Along with Herr’s statement, a spokesperson for North Dakota Gov. Jack Dalrymple also reportedly said that the governor had no intention of blocking food and supplies from entering the camp.
According to AP, spokesman Jeff Zent said that Dalrymple’s emergency evacuation order, signed Monday, has been “misconstrued” by some as a green light to block supplies, but that was “not the governor’s intent.”
Dalrymple’s order came into effect immediately after signing with officials citing “safety concerns and the potential danger to human life for those camping on federal property without proper shelter during harsh winter conditions.”
Previously, the US Army Corps of Engineers vowed to force protesters off of its land, where the Oceti Sakowin Camp is set up, by December 5, but backtracked on the threat on Monday.
The news, which marked a small, but significant victory for the protesters, came just over a week since Morton County Sheriff’s Department deployed tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons, despite below-freezing temperatures in North Dakota.
‘Violent, unjustified, and unprovoked physical attack’
On Monday, several protesters filed a class action lawsuit against Morton County and law enforcement agencies, who they accuse of “illegal use of force,” including “highly dangerous weaponry,” on the night of November 20 and early morning of November 21.
Protesters behind the lawsuit are seeking “an immediate court order to prohibit the unlawful use of excessive force.”
Nine activists, including five Native Americans, have also filed a mass-action complaint, in which they are seeking “compensatory, general and special damages” after sustaining injuries.
One of the activists, Vanessa Dundon of the Navajo Nation, was hit in the eye with a tear gas canister, shot by police. Another water protector, Jade Kalikolehuaokakalani Wool, had her face burned after two grenades blew up near her head. He had to be hospitalized. Crystal Wilson was shot with a water cannon, tear gassed and shot with a munition. An activist who was filming police was hit from a water cannon and then in the hand with a munition, which resulted in several bone fractures.
No orders to disperse, or warnings were given before deployment of these high levels of force against the unarmed water protectors. On this night, over 200 water protectors, including Plaintiffs, were injured by excessive police force, some of them very seriously,” the group said.
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