400 Protestors Standoff with Officers on Backwater Bridge


Date: November 20, 2016

Agency: Morton County Sheriff's Department

Contact: Morton County PIO (701) 426-1587 or (701) 595-3596

Mandan, N.D. - Law enforcement is currently involved in an ongoing riot on the Backwater Bridge, north of a protest camp in Morton County. Protesters in mass amounts, estimated to be around 400, are on the bridge and attempting to breach the bridge to go north on highway 1806. Law enforcement officers have formed a line north of the bridge to prevent protesters movement. As of 8:30 p.m. protesters were attempting to start multiple fires. Mandan Rural and Bismarck Fire Departments are on the scene.

Officers on the scene are describing protester’s actions as very aggressive. Protesters have also engaged in organized tactical movement and attempted to flank and attack the law enforcement line from the west. In order to keep protesters from crossing the bridge, law enforcement have utilized less-than-lethal means, including launching CS gas.

As of 8:30 p.m. one arrest has been made.

The incident began around 6 p.m. Sunday evening, when protesters removed a truck that had been on the bridge since October 27th, when protesters set two trucks on fire.

North Dakota Department of Transportation has closed the Backwater Bridge due to damage caused after protesters set numerous fires on the bridge October 27th. In addition, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has requested Morton County to prevent protesters from trespassing on USACE land north of the camp.

Again, this situation is ongoing. More information will be released as it becomes available.