By NNN staff
Dozens of people participated in ceremonies and left on foot from the Oceti Sakowin camp under threat of deadlines by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state of North Dakota. Others stayed to risk arrest by authorities clearing the land to continue construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline under Lake Oahe.
The state provided travel assistance and other services for those voluntarily leaving the main camp for people opposing the pipeline. Buses came to take people to an assistance center in Bismarck. The state is providing health services, bus fare, food vouchers and a one-night hotel stay. Grassroots groups are also providing assistance.
Muddy conditions hindered debris removal. Rain and snow hit the area the morning of the evacuation. Campers had asked the Army Corps for more time to continue clean up efforts, but the agency denied the extension. Law enforcement officials said anyone still at the camp after 2 p.m. local time would be arrested and remaining property, structures and vehicles would be impounded.
The Army Corps set Feb. 22 as the deadline for people to vacate the camp. The state also called for people to leave through an evacuation order issued the week before.