Energy Transfer, the company in charge of constructing the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) in the US state of North Dakota, has unleashed dogs on a group of Native Americans who were protesting against the project.
The violent encounter occurred on Saturday, when hundreds of protesters gathered at one of the pipeline’s construction sites where some bulldozers were leveling the ground.
When the demonstrators urged the construction team to cease operations, security personnel from the Energy Transfer showed up and started to spray mace onto protesters while attacking them by their trained dogs.
At least six protesters were viciously bitten by the canines, tribe spokesman Steve Sitting Bear said, adding that over 30 others were pepper-sprayed in the face.
However, that did not stop the protesters, who at the end managed to push back the construction workers along with their security teams.
Tribal officials said that the construction crew had destroyed some American Indian burial and cultural sites on private properties located in southern North Dakota.
This is while the Morton County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Donnell Preskey said “four private security guards and two guard dogs were injured.”
Vicki Granado, Energy Transfer’s spokesman, accused the protesters of resorting to “unwarranted violence.”
“We are working with law enforcement to ensure that all offenders are arrested and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he noted.
The four-state pipeline’s construction has been met with resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and nearly 100 more tribes from across the US. Landowners and environmental activists have also been voicing opposition to the project.
When completed, the $3.8 billion project will carry about 500,000 barrels per day of crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oilfield to an oil distribution center in the state of Illinois.
On its way, the pipeline would cross the Missouri River. Native Americans living in the region are concerned that the project would contaminate drinking water for thousands of tribal members and millions more downstream.
According to Forbes Magazine, Energy Transfer belongs to a Texas entrepreneur called Kelcy Warren, whose wealth exceeds $4 billion.