Bismarck’s Kirkwood Mall became the site of more than shopping this Black Friday when 33 anti-Dakota Access pipeline protesters were arrested. This past weekend, police used water canons against protesters in freezing temperatures. One protester may even lose her arm after police reportedly threw a grenade at her during the encounter.
In a news release, North Dakota’s Bismarck Police said 33 people had been arrested for “criminal trespass,” stating that Kirkwood Mall is “private property.” Police arrived at the scene at 12:48 p.m. and reported 100 protesters were gathered. According to police, protesters formed a prayer circle. Those who didn’t leave the premises after being told to do by police were arrested.
“Kirkwood Mall management advised BPD they would not allow any protest activities, nor any open prayer services in or on their property,” said police. “Kirkwood Mall informed police that if any of these activities occur on or in their property that any individual(s) involved need to be told to leave Kirkwood Mall property.”
Videos of the protests and subsequent arrests show at least one protester on the ground shouting “Water is life” while being arrested. Amnesty International tweeted a video of the arrests saying: “Following arrests at a North Dakota mall today, we reiterate our demand for police to respect the right to peaceful protest.”
Prior to this, 14 protesters were arrested for a sit-in at the North Dakota State Capitol.