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This is why everyone is checking in at the Dakota Access Pipeline

Posted November 2

You’ve probably noticed people on your Facebook timeline checking in at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

But don’t mistake this for all of your friends flying out to the Native American landmark. Social media users are checking in to show solidarity with people from the Indian reservation.

As you may have heard, over the last few weeks, protesters from all over the world — Japan, Russia and Germany — as well as those in the United States have flocked to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation to protest the creation of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a $3.7 billion project that would move oil from the reservation across the country, CNN reported.

This “1,172-mile pipeline being built by companies led by Energy Transfer Partners LP would offer the fastest route to bring Bakken shale oil from North Dakota to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries,” according to NBC News.

For protesters, a major point of contention is the pipe potentially leaking and causing damage to the area's water supply, according to Business Insider. Contaminated water could lead to "increased incidences of cancer and digestive problems," Business Insider reported.

"The main reason it's such a big deal here is that it's going to affect our water supply," Aries Yumul, an assistant principal at North Dakota's Todd County School District, told Business Insider.

Tensions at the protest site have reached a boiling point, according to The New York Times, as police officers have battled protesters. Officers even arrested some protesters, whom they tried to force off the reservation.

“Each side complained vehemently about violent tactics by the other,” according to The Times. “Officers said that protesters had attacked them with firebombs, logs, feces and debris. They acknowledged using pepper spray and beanbag rounds against the protesters, as well as a high-pitched sound device meant to disperse crowds.”

The Los Angeles Times reported that captured protesters were kept in dog kennels, too, after being marked with numbers. Actress Shailene Woodley got arrested, too, despite her peaceful protests.

Of course, some locals in the area aren’t protesting the pipeline at all, saying they wish the protesters would leave the site, according to CNN.

Robert Fool Bear Sr., 54, told CNN he thinks the protesters are merely hopping on a bandwagon, showing support despite the fact that this has been an issue for more than two years.

"It irks me. People are here from all over the world," he told CNN. “If they could come from other planets, I think they would."

Still, it seems a number of people have decided to show solidarity with the movement on Facebook.

The main reason it's such a big deal here is that it's going to affect our water supply," Aries Yumul, an assistant principal at North Dakota's Todd County School District

Herb Scribner is a writer for Deseret Digital Media.

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