Corps won’t forcibly remove protesters from federal land

Protesters gather at an encampment on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, a day after tribal leaders received a letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that told them the federal land would be closed to the public on Dec. 5, near Cannon Ball, N.D. The protesters said Saturday that they do not plan to leave and will continue to oppose construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. (AP photo/James MacPherson)
Protesters gather at an encampment on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2016, a day after tribal leaders received a letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that told them the federal land would be closed to the public on Dec. 5, near Cannon Ball, N.D. The protesters said Saturday that they do not plan to leave and will continue to oppose construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline. (AP photo/James MacPherson)

BISMARCK, N.D. (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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