Native Americans marching to a sacred burial ground, disturbed by bulldozers building the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), September 04, 2016. (AFP photo)
Native American tribes in the US state of North Dakota will continue to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, says a tribal leader, despite federal calls to stop the project’s progress.
The US government said on Friday that the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline’s construction should be put on hold.
The decision came days after security personnel from Energy Transfer, the contractor, confronted hundreds of protesters at one of the construction sites and attacked them with mace and trained dogs.
However, Goldtooth, one of the organizers of the protests, urged activists on Sunday to practice vigilance as the federal call for stopping the construction was temporary and not legally binding.
He said it was up to Energy Transfer to heed the call and stop the project, which has outraged the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and nearly 100 more tribes from across the US.
Flags of Native American tribes from across the US and Canada near the Dakota Access Pipeline's construction site (AFP photo)
Landowners and environmental activists have also been voicing opposition to the project.
When completed, the $3.8 billion project will carry about 500,000 barrels per day of crude oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oilfield to an oil distribution center in the state of Illinois.
There are fears that the project could endanger drinking water for thousands of tribal members and millions more downstream.
The government’s call to temporarily halt the project came hours after a ruling by a US federal judge, who allowed the project’s continuation.
Judge James Boasberg said Friday that the tribes had not adequately shown the project would destroy "sites of cultural and historical significance," ruling that the project should not be stopped.
Following the ruling, the US Departments of Justice, Army and Interior issued a joint statement, announcing that the construction would not be allowed to continue.
The US Army Corps of Engineers, which owns some of the land where the pipeline was planned to be constructed, said it would not allow the continuation of the process on its property until officials re-examined the Native American tribes’ concerns about the pipeline.

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