Dakota pipeline protestors given deadline to leave federal lands

Dozens of protestors demonstrating against the expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline wade in cold creek waters confronting local police, as remnants of pepper spray waft over the crowd near Cannon Ball, N.D., Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Officers in riot gear clashed again Wednesday with protesters near the Dakota Access pipeline, hitting several dozen with pepper spray as they waded through waist-deep water in an attempt to reach property owned by the pipeline's developer. (AP Photo/John L. Mone)
Dozens of protestors demonstrating against the expansion of the Dakota Access Pipeline wade in cold creek waters confronting local police, as remnants of pepper spray waft over the crowd near Cannon Ball, N.D., Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Officers in riot gear clashed again Wednesday with protesters near the Dakota Access pipeline, hitting several dozen with pepper spray as they waded through waist-deep water in an attempt to reach property owned by the pipeline's developer. (AP Photo/John L. Mone)

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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