Protest camp evacuations 'going rather smoothly'

Feb 23, 2017

Gov. Doug Burgum at a Mandan news conference (2-23-17).
Credit Dave Thompson / Prairie Public

Gov. Doug Burgum saids it appears between 25 and 50 people are left at the Oceti Sakowin protest camp on the Cannonball River.

At its peak, an estimated 10,000 people were at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp.

Wednesday (2-22-17) was the deadline for protestors to vacate. Burgum told reporters from his perspective, that process went rather smoothly.

"I think the message got out," Burgum said. "Lots and lots of people left the camp voluntarily."

Burgum said there is a 9 am deadline Thursday (2-23-17) for the remaining protestors to leave – to allow clean-up crews to finish their work. Burgum told reporters enough is enough.

"We've been giving people ample time," Burgum said. "Leave peacefully, take your belongings. The camp is now closed."

Burgum said it’s important to get the camp cleaned up now before the Cannonball and Missouri rivers flood – and those high waters could cause more environmental problems.