MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A move by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office to send deputies to the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota has prompted an online petition demanding the department withdraw its forces.

On Sunday, images posted to social media showed Hennepin County bringing resources into the “Lakota Territory near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation.”

The pictures, which many found controversial, prompted a petition on Honor The Earth’s website calling for the withdrawal of Hennepin County forces from Standing Rock.

“Hennepin County Sheriff’s Department Special Operations units have been deployed to Standing rock to join in the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations to protect the water,” the petition said.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office has since responded, saying its office and others in Minnesota are responding to a request made through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact.

Read the entire statement below.

So far, the online petition has garnered nearly 2,000 signatures.

Standing Rock Sioux want construction of the pipeline — worth $3.8 billion — halted. They say it could taint water supply as well as encroach on tribal burial sites. The protests supporting the tribe and its mission have been going on for months.