Baku. 29 November. REPORT.AZ/ North Dakota's (US) governor ordered the expulsion of thousands of Native American and environmental activists camped on federal property near an oil pipeline project.
Report informs citing the Reuters, they are trying to halt, citing hazards posed by harsh weather as a blizzard bore down on the area.
The "emergency evacuation" order from Governor Jack Dalrymple came days after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the site, set a Dec. 5 deadline for the demonstrators to vacate their encampment, about 72 km south of Bismarck, the state capital.
Late Monday, Standing Rock Chairman Dave Archambault II denounced Dalrymple's order as a "menacing action meant to cause fear," and accused the Republican governor of trying to "usurp and circumvent federal authority."
Archambault noted that the evacuation order, which the governor said he issued for the campers' well-being in the face of dangerous winter weather, came a week after police turned water hoses on protesters in sub-freezing temperatures.
Notably, activists have spent months protesting against plans to route the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, saying the project poses a threat to water resources and sacred Native American sites.
The governor did not specify how he intended to enforce his order other than by directing state and local agencies to refuse emergency assistance and other services to anyone who remained at the site. He said the order was effective immediately and would stay in force "until rescinded."
But Standing Rock Sioux spokeswoman Phyllis Young told a news conference Monday night the tribe would stand its ground.
"We have lived for generations in this setting. That is our camp. We will continue to provide for our people there," she said. "This is Lakota territory. This is treaty territory, and no one else has jurisdiction there."
Protest leaders suggested a forced evacuation could prove more dangerous to the activists than staying put.
"We're in the heart of winter now. To even think of a forced removal is terrifying," said Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer with Indigenous Environmental Network, who estimated there were about 5,000 people in the camp.