North Dakota

Police evict oil pipeline protesters from private land

  • Demonstrators stand next to burning tires as armed soldiers and law enforcement officers assemble on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, to force Dakota Access pipeline protesters off private land where they had camped to block construction. The pipeline is to carry oil from western North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to an existing pipeline in Patoka, Ill. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

    Demonstrators stand next to burning tires as armed soldiers and law enforcement officers assemble on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, to force Dakota Access pipeline protesters off private land where they had camped to block construction. The pipeline is to carry oil from western North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to an existing pipeline in Patoka, Ill. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Dakota Access pipeline protesters defy law enforcement officers who are trying to force them from a camp on private land in the path of pipeline construction on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, near Cannon Ball, N.D. The months-long dispute over the four-state, $3.8 billion pipeline reached a crisis point when the protesters set up camp on land owned by pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners. The disputed area is just to the north of a more permanent and larger encampment on federally-owned land where hundreds of protesters have camped for months. (AP Photo/James MacPherson)

    Dakota Access pipeline protesters defy law enforcement officers who are trying to force them from a camp on private land in the path of pipeline construction on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, near Cannon Ball, N.D. The months-long dispute over the four-state, $3.8 billion pipeline reached a crisis point when the protesters set up camp on land owned by pipeline developer Energy Transfer Partners. The disputed area is just to the north of a more permanent and larger encampment on federally-owned land where hundreds of protesters have camped for months. (AP Photo/James MacPherson)  (The Associated Press)

  • Tires burn as armed soldiers and law enforcement officers stand in formation on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, to force Dakota Access pipeline protesters off private land where they had camped to block construction. The pipeline is to carry oil from western North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to an existing pipeline in Patoka, Ill. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)

    Tires burn as armed soldiers and law enforcement officers stand in formation on Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, to force Dakota Access pipeline protesters off private land where they had camped to block construction. The pipeline is to carry oil from western North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa to an existing pipeline in Patoka, Ill. (Mike McCleary/The Bismarck Tribune via AP)  (The Associated Press)

A months-long protest over the Dakota Access oil pipeline reached its most chaotic pitch yet when hundreds of law enforcement officers moved in to force activists off private property.

Thursday's nearly six-hour operation dramatically escalated the dispute over Native American rights and the project's environmental impact, with officers in riot gear firing bean bags and pepper spray.

At least 117 people were arrested, and no serious injuries were reported.

State Emergency Services spokeswoman Cecily Fong says that among those arrested was a woman who pulled out a .38-caliber pistol and fired three times at officers, narrowly missing a sheriff's deputy. She says officers did not return fire.

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier says the camp was cleared by nightfall.