Hundreds of armed state and local police and National Guard pushed past burning barricades to slowly envelop the camp of protesters of the Dakota Access pipeline Thursday.  Law enforcement dramatically escalated the months-long dispute, dressed in riot gear, firing bean bags and pepper spray in a six hour siege, evicting the protesters from private land owned by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners– builders of the pipeline that skirts Standing Rock Reservation– which protesters say could endanger water supplies and disturb cultural sites. North Dakota officials say no cultural sites are affected.
At least 117 environmental and Native American rights protesters were arrested, with no serious injuries reported.  Among those arrested was an unidentified woman who pulled out a .38-caliber pistol and fired three times at officers, narrowly missing a sheriff’s deputy.  Officers did not return fire.  No word on whether any Montanans who joined the protest were among those arrested.