Dakota Access pipeline protesters walk near a row of tribal nation flags after a demonstration near the Dakota Access pipeline construction site north of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. October 29, 2016. REUTERS/Josh Morgan NO SALES, NO ARCHIVES
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Parallels seen in protests of Dakota pipeline, Oregon refugeOn the same day seven defendants celebrated their acquittal in the armed takeover of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, law enforcement officers dressed in riot gear and firing bean bag rounds arrested nearly 150 oil pipeline protesters camped out in North Dakota.The sudden developments in the two protests drew an unsettling contrast for some between the treatment of mostly Native American citizens at an encampment near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and the heavily armed occupiers who held the federal government at bay for weeks in the remote Malheur National Wildlife Refuge.That perception underscores what many at Standing Rock see as the ultimate irony: that although the Oregon occupiers said they were protesting the government's takeover of public lands, they themselves are descendants of the original American occupiers.That alone has strengthened the North Dakota protesters' resolve -- particularly when the Burns Paiute Tribe in Oregon spoke out about potential damage the refuge protesters were doing to their sacred sites and to tribal artifacts in storage there, Freemuth said.
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