The Latest: Highway shut down by protests to see traffic

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 15, 2017 at 2:28 p.m.



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BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — The Latest on the Dakota Access oil pipeline (all times local):

3:25 p.m.

Officials are re-establishing traffic on a stretch of highway in North Dakota that has been closed for months due to protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

The stretch of state Highway 1806 was shut down in late October after a bridge was damaged by fires during protests.

Authorities say that beginning at noon Friday, two-way traffic will be allowed with the assistance of pilot cars that will escort vehicles over a 9-mile stretch. That system will continue until authorities deem it safe to resume normal traffic without pilot cars.

The stretch of highway is near the area where pipeline opponents camped for months. The camps were cleared out and shut down late last month in advance of spring flooding season.

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11:55 a.m.

Amnesty International USA is asking the state of North Dakota to address alleged human rights violations against Dakota Access pipeline opponents.

Hundreds of protesters were arrested from August through February. Amnesty International says it has documented numerous instances of excessive force or intimidation by police and excessive criminal charges.

The organization sent a letter asking Republican Gov. Doug Burgum and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem to drop or consider dropping charges against protesters. The letter also asks them to review police practices and open independent investigations into several cases.

Police have defended their practices, which have included water sprays, tear gas and non-lethal ammunition such as rubber bullets. Police have said some protesters were violent and took part in riots, and that some targeted police both professionally and personally.

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9:10 a.m.

A federal judge has refused to head off the imminent flow of oil in the disputed Dakota Access pipeline.

Judge James Boasberg on Tuesday denied a request by the Standing Rock and Cheyenne River Sioux to stop oil from flowing while they appeal his earlier decision allowing pipeline construction to finish.

Boasberg says a "critical factor" is the tribes' appeal is unlikely to succeed. They say the pipeline violates their religious rights because it's running under a lake they consider sacred. Boasberg says the argument was made too late and is of questionable merit.

The $3.8 billion pipeline will carry North Dakota oil to Illinois. Texas-based developer Energy Transfer Partners says it could be moving oil as early as Monday. Boasberg says ETP would be "substantially harmed" by a delay.

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The Associated Press

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