Corps won’t forcibly remove protesters from federal land

Organizers of protests against construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline speak at a news conference on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, near Cannon Ball, N.D. They said they have a right to remain on land where they have been camped for months. They made the statement a day after tribal leaders received a letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, telling them the land would be closed to the public on Dec. 5. (AP Photo/James MacPherson)

BISMARCK, ND (AP) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says it has “no plans for forcible removal” of protesters who have been camping in North Dakota to protest the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

The Corps says in a statement Sunday that it “is seeking a peaceful and orderly transition to a safer location.”

The Corps notified tribal leaders Friday that all federal lands north of the Cannonball River will be closed to public access Dec. 5 for “safety concerns.” The agency says those who choose to stay do so at their own risk. The Corps says anyone on the property north of the Cannonball River after that date will be trespassing and subject to prosecution.

The land to be closed includes the main protest camp, about 50 miles south of Bismarck.

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