Mandan, N.D. - Thursday morning at 11:15 authorities began taking steps to remove the illegal roadblocks and protesters trespassing on private property near Highway 1806.
“Protesters’ escalated unlawful behavior this weekend by setting up illegal roadblocks, trespassing onto private property and establishing an encampment, has forced law enforcement to respond at this time. As I said yesterday, I visited the protesters roadblock and requested them to remove the barricade and have protesters vacate the private property. However, the spokesperson at the roadblock, Mekasi Camp-Horinek of Oklahoma, told law enforcement they “were not moving”, said Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier. “I can’t stress it enough, this is a public safety issue. We cannot have protesters blocking county roads, blocking state highways, or trespassing on private property.”
Sunday, protesters created an illegal road block along Highway 1806 and County Road 134. In addition, protesters trespassed into private property on the east side of Hwy. 1806 and have set up a new camp. This is directly located on the Dakota Access Pipeline right of way on property that is known as “Cannonball Ranch.” Numerous teepee’s, tents and other structures have been set up and built on the private property since Sunday. In addition, law enforcement has received information that protesters have taken over a shop and old home on the property.
Numerous counties, cities, state agencies and out-of-state law enforcement are supporting Morton County in this mission.
Highway 1806 continues to be closed between Fort Rice and Cannonball. Media are advised to meet at the Fort Rice campground on Highway 1806 where PIO Tom Iverson will escort them to the area, when law enforcement deem it to be safe.
Morton County will release more information as it becomes available.