Arrests Made At Protest
Law officers say 15 to 20 people were arrested for disorderly conduct this morning because they blocked traffic en route to the construction site of a large-scale hog farm west of Wagner.A big truck carrying construction materials approached the site late this morning, and some protesters refused to get off the asphalt road leading to the site. Seven law enforcement cars from the South Dakota Highway Patrol and the Charles Mix County Sheriff's Office arrived and made the arrests. Sheriff Ray Westendorf says the arrests were made because the people were blocking traffic. After the arrests, some Yankton Sioux tribal members protesting the hog farm asked law officers why they had to make arrests. One state trooper told them he didn't want to arrest anyone and only cited those who refused when they were asked to leave the road. The vice chairman of the Yankton Sioux Tribe, John Stone, is blaming county and state law officers for escalating tension at the site. Stone says tribal members will continue a peaceful protest. He says the arrests happened when some people got caught up in the moment. A blockade of the road lasted only about a half hour. Protesters let local traffic through but wanted to stop construction vehicles. The arrests happened south of the hog farm site after protesters heard that a construction truck was coming. The original blockade was on the north end of the road. Stone says the tribe is considering several legal strategies. We have a news crew at the site and will bring you a full report later today on KELOLAND News.