17:29 GMT18 April 2021
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    A group of human rights observers have been dispatched to the US state of North Dakota to monitor the police response to protests amid escalating tensions at the Dakota Access Pipeline site, Amnesty International USA said in a press release on Friday.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — 

    "People here just want to stand up for the rights of Indigenous people and protect their natural resources. These people should not be treated like the enemy," AIUSA Director of Communications Eric Ferrero stated in the release. "Confronting men, women, and children while outfitted in gear more suited for the battlefield is a disproportionate response."

    Amnesty explained that the number of arrests have increased in recent weeks and law enforcement has employed a more militarized response to demonstrations and encampments near the construction site of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

    Earlier on Friday, media reported that police arrested more than 140 people at the Dakota Access Pipeline site.

    Amnesty said it contacted the Morton County Sheriff’s Department to express concern about the level of force used against protesters, and will call on the Department of Justice to investigate the police practices.

    The planned $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline will transport domestically-produced light crude oil from North Dakota through the US states of South Dakota and Iowa into Illinois. The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation claims the pipeline will affect their water sources and violate sacred places, including burial sites.

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