Environmental Activists Crawl into Pipeline to Block Construction, Officials Will Pursue Charges
UPDATE: 4:14 P.M. – RNRF has just learned that both protesters have been forcibly removed from the pipeline and are being booked into the Marion County Jail.
The male suspect was extracted from the pipeline at 1:06 p.m. and the female suspect was extracted at 2:03 p.m.
Officials haven’t released the suspect’s identities at this time.
Dunnellon (Citrus) – Law enforcement officers are on scene at the Sabal Trail Pipeline, located along SR-200, after two unidentified anti-pipeline activists crawled into the pipeline in efforts to stop the construction.
According to Marion County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson, Lauren Lettelier, “Around 7 a.m. this morning the sheriff’s office received a tip from a local protesting group that two individuals have hidden themselves inside the pipeline. “ Lettelier goes on to say, “Right now our goal is just to get them out. We have Paramedics on scene and our Field Force Team ready to handle any type of situation with traffic and crowd control“’
One of the protestors, Taylor Ashley was on scene and stated she was worried about the people inside of the pipeline. “I heard the paramedics are here because the Sheriff’s office is worried about oxygen deprivation… I know one of the protestors and she’s been in the pipeline since 2 a.m. It’s dangerous,” said Ashley. According to Ashley, the two protesters inside the pipeline are not part of her group.
“As of right now, we are not sure how deep the suspects went into to pipeline.” Lettelier said. “We have been trying since 7 a.m. to get them out peacefully but it’s not working.”
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has set up a quarter-mile perimeter around the shoulders of SR-200 at the intersection of SW 119th Court in Dunnellon . Officials are not allowing any vehicular or foot traffic to access the scene in an attempt to prevent injuries to protesters.
Officials say they will pursue criminal charges once the suspects are pulled from the pipeline.
Approximately 300 Dakota Access Pipeline protesters burned down their campsite at at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation in North Dakota today, after they were told to leave by 2:00 p.m. today.
We will bring more on this story as it develops.
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