MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Sixty-nine arrests were made on Saturday afternoon outside the governor’s mansion, where people gathered to protest the ongoing construction of the Line 3 pipeline.
Protesters, who have been calling themselves “water protectors,” say the pipeline is a threat to the environment and intrudes on Indigenous land. Enbridge, a Canadian company, says the pipeline is safe and is bringing jobs to northern Minnesota.
On Friday, at least four protesters demonstrating against the pipeline were arrested in front of the Minnesota State Capitol, after dozens of Minnesota State Patrol troopers surrounded a teepee on the capitol mall, where demonstrators were holding a ceremony and singing traditional Native American songs.
The St. Paul Police Department said their Special Operations Unit was patrolling the governor’s mansion and were supported by the Minnesota State Patrol to “secure the residence, prevent property damage, disperse the crowd and arrest protesters.”
State Patrol troopers said they arrested 69 individuals for various charges including disorderly conduct, third-degree riot, and felony threats of violence. State patrol confirmed that some of the arrests occurred because of criminal conduct and others were provided multiple orders to leave the property but refused. Authorities say that those arrested will be held at the Ramsey County Jail.
“If you swarm someone’s home, chain yourself to the fence and pull on the gate in an attempt to tear it down, you should expect to be arrested,” said Chief of the Minnesota State Patrol, Colonel Matt Langer.
According to state officials, Gov. Tim Walz was not present at the mansion when protestors were arrested and did not give further comments.