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WATCH: Police hit #NoDAPL protesters with water cannons in sub-freezing weather

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Hundreds of protesters opposed to a North Dakota oil pipeline project they say threatens water resources and sacred tribal lands clashed with police who fired tear gas at the scene of a similar confrontation last month, officials said.

An estimated 400 protesters mounted the Backwater Bridge and attempted to force their way past police in what the Morton County Sheriff’s Department initially described as an “ongoing riot,” the latest in a series of demonstrations against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

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A statement from the agency said one arrest had been made by 8:30 p.m. local time, about 2 1/2 hours after the incident began 45 miles south of Bismark, the North Dakota capital. About 100 to 200 protesters remained after midnight.

The Backwater Bridge has been closed since late October, when activists clashed with police in riot gear and set two trucks on fire, prompting authorities to forcibly shut down a protesters encampment nearby.

The Morton County Sheriff’s Department said officers on the scene of the latest confrontation were “describing protesters’ actions as very aggressive.”

Demonstrators tried to start about a dozen fires as they attempted to outflank and “attack” law enforcement barricades, the sheriff’s statement said.

Police said they responded by firing volleys of tear gas at protesters in a bid to prevent them from crossing the bridge.

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Activists at the scene reported on Twitter that police were also spraying protesters with water in sub-freezing temperatures and firing rubber bullets, injuring some in the crowd.

Police did not confirm those reports, but later said protesters had hurled rocks, striking one officer, and fired burning logs from slingshots.

A rubber bullet and a rubber bullet wound are displayed for the camera during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. November 20, 2016. (REUTERS/Stephanie Keith)

A rubber bullet and a rubber bullet wound are displayed for the camera during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. November 20, 2016 (REUTERS/Stephanie Keith)

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The clashes began after protesters removed a truck that had been on the bridge since Oct. 27, police said. The North Dakota Department of Transportation closed the Backwater Bridge due to damage from that incident.

The $3.7 billion Dakota Access project has been drawing steady opposition from Native American and environmental activists since the summer.

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Completion of the pipeline, set to run 1,172 miles from North Dakota to Illinois, was delayed in September so federal authorities could re-examine permits required by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Plans called for the pipeline to pass under Lake Oahe, a federally owned water source, and to skirt the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation by about half a mile. Most of the construction has otherwise been finished.

The Standing Rock tribe and environmental activists say the project would threaten water supplies and sacred Native American sites and ultimately contribute to climate change.

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Supporters of the pipeline, owned by Energy Transfer Partners, said the project offers the fast and most direct route for bringing Bakken shale oil from North Dakota to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries and would be safer than transporting the oil by road or rail.

(Reporting by Chris Michaud in New York; Editing by Steve Gorman and Susan Fenton)


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New Zealand may postpone general election after 4 test positive for COVID-19: PM Jacinda Ardern

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New Zealand locked down nursing homes nationwide Wednesday after a 102-day streak without the coronavirus ended, as Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the outbreak could force her to postpone next month's general election.

Ardern said authorities were scrambling to trace anyone who had been in contact with four Auckland residents who tested positive Tuesday, ending the dream run in which the virus had been contained at New Zealand's borders.

A three-day stay-at-home order for Auckland, New Zealand's biggest city with a population of 1.5 million, was announced on Tuesday night and went into force at lunchtime on Wednesday.

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2020 Election

Android phones to get ‘ShakeAlert’ earthquake warnings — and phones may double as tremor detectors

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Android phones will receive warnings triggered by a "ShakeAlert" earthquake early-warning system implemented on the West Coast by the US Geological Survey and partners.

ShakeAlert uses signals from hundreds of seismometers across the state to trigger warning messages that "an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent," according to the system's website.

"We saw an opportunity to use Android to provide people with timely, helpful earthquake information when they search, as well as a few seconds warning to get themselves and their loved ones to safety if needed," principal software engineer Marc Stogaitis said in a blog post.

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2020 Election

‘Don’t talk about racism, racist’: Trump scorched after claiming Biden-Harris campaign has a ‘racism problem’

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President Donald Trump continued to lash out at Kamala Harris after the California Democrat was chosen to join the 2020 Democratic Party ticket as presumptive nominee Joe Biden's running mate.

At a news conference following the selection, Trump complained about Harris being "nasty."

After 10 p.m. on Monday, Trump tweeted out an attack ad claiming "Joe Biden has a racism problem."

Here's some of what people were saying about Trump's line of attack:

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