Thousands of protesters fighting construction of controversial oil pipeline

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BISMARCK, N.D. – Construction on a controversial oil pipeline has been stopped as protests continue.

The controversial pipeline is set to carry oil over 1,000 miles from North Dakota to Illinois and would cross under the Missouri River.

However, members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe believe that the pipeline could end up contaminating that tribe’s water and would disturb burial grounds and sacred sites.

In July, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Sioux tribe, asking for an injunction against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lawsuit claims that the pipeline would “damage and destroy sites of great historic, religious and cultural significance to the tribe.”

Developers have agreed to halt construction until the case is resolved.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Daniel Hovland moved the hearing on the lawsuit to Sept. 8 to prevent protesters from interfering with construction of the pipeline, the Associated Press reported. The judge also extended a restraining order against the protesters until the hearing.

According to the Bismarck Tribune, tribal members from across the country joined protesters, bringing their ranks to the thousands.

Authorities say the majority of the protesters are peaceful, but dozens have been arrested for disorderly conduct or trespassing. Investigators are looking into two incidents involving lasers being pointed at an aircraft over the protest site.

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