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Protest in Crosslake rallies against Dakota Access Pipeline

CROSSLAKE--A crowd of about 30 or more protesters acting against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline mounted a demonstration Tuesday afternoon near a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility in Crosslake.

Protesters stand at the intersection of County Road 3 and County Road 66 in Crosslake on Tuesday as they demonstrate against the Dakota Access Pipeline, in conjunction with a national day of action against the project. Zach Kayser/Brainerd Dispatch
Protesters stand at the intersection of County Road 3 and County Road 66 in Crosslake on Tuesday as they demonstrate against the Dakota Access Pipeline, in conjunction with a national day of action against the project. Zach Kayser/Brainerd Dispatch

CROSSLAKE-A crowd of about 30 or more protesters acting against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline mounted a demonstration Tuesday afternoon near a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility in Crosslake.

Participants waved signs reading "No DAPL" at passing cars, getting honks back in solidarity. At least one driver stopped in the road to chat through their side window.

Lacey Needham of Pine River organized the demonstration via social media after she heard about a national day of action against the pipeline and saw there weren't any protests already planned in the area. Although she had attended demonstrations in the past, she had never organized one before, she said. She had assumed it would only be her and a few others, only to be surprised with the high turnout.

"Apparently, the word got out," she said.

Other protests took place Tuesday in Duluth and St. Paul, with 11 total in Minnesota and more than 300 nationwide, Minnesota Public Radio News reported. The actions were in solidarity with a higher-profile protest action centered around the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe's reservation in North Dakota. Pipeline opponents see Dakota Access' planned route crossing under the Missouri River near the reservation as a threat to the water supply.

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The St. Paul protest reportedly blocked light rail trains. However, the Crosslake protesters did not appear to be intentionally disrupting traffic, instead staying on the sidewalk.

The protesters in Crosslake chose a spot near the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers campground and the Pine River Dam, because of the Corps' involvement in the permitting process for the pipeline.

Needham's sister Emma, who lives in Brainerd, said she was demonstrating in order to set a good example for her 3-year-old daughter.

"She is the future of our country," she said. "I believe that it's important for her stand up for what she believes in, and stand up for the environment whenever possible."

The protest also served to raise awareness among area residents about the Dakota Access issue, Needham added.

"Some people-I mean, even since we've been here (demonstrating)-are going, 'What's DAPL?'" she said.

There may be a follow-up demonstration given the higher-than-expected attendance on Tuesday.

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