Activists block controversial pipeline on US-Canada border

·2-min read

Environmental activists and Native American protestors blocked construction of a controversial oil pipeline between Canada and the United States for several hours, with police arresting more than 160 demonstrators according to a nonprofit.

To the cries of "Stop Line 3" and the sound of tribal drums, several hundred protesters, including actress and activist Jane Fonda, occupied the construction site in Lake Itasca, Minnesota, on Monday before being dislodged by the police.

Built by the Canadian company Enbridge, the Line 3 pipeline takes oil from the tar sands in Edmonton, in Canada's Alberta province, to refineries in Superior, Wisconsin.

But the new route, which should make it possible to increase the volume transported, faces opposition from Native American communities who warn that local rivers are threatened by oil spills, which would devastate their way of life.

They also denounced what they said was a violation of treaties Native tribes signed with the US government and called on President Joe Biden to revoke Enbridge's licenses.

A spokeswoman for the nonprofit National Lawyers Guild, which has been monitoring the pipeline protest, said the group had tallied 164 arrests so far, all on charges of trespassing on critical infrastructure.

Tactics to force out the protesters, some of whom had chained themselves to construction equipment, included a helicopter that blew dust on the rally, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper.

The New York Times additionally reported use of a crowd-dispelling sonic Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD).

"Enbridge should not be building a replacement pipeline through the state of Minnesota and through these waters," environmental activist Josiah Hanka told AFP. "I'm willing to take the risk to stop this."

Mary Rosenberg, another protester, said, "I still have hope that we can stop this, and we have to... We need our water, we need pure water and we can't have the oil mixed in it."

Enbridge in late April said about half of Line 3 had already been built.

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