Anti-pipeline protesters arrested at North Dakota shopping mall

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More than 30 activists protesting plans to run an oil pipeline beneath a lake near a North Dakota Indian reservation were arrested on Friday at a retail mall during a rally timed to coincide with the busiest shopping day of the year.

The demonstrators, including members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, walked into the Kirkwood Mall in downtown Bismarck and formed a prayer circle just inside the entrance, defying demands by mall management that they leave the premises.

See images from the protests:

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Protests escalate at Dakota Access pipeline
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Protests escalate at Dakota Access pipeline
In this image provided by Morton County Sheriffâs Department, law enforcement and protesters clash near the site of the Dakota Access pipeline on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Cannon Ball, N.D. The clash came as protesters sought to push past a bridge on a state highway that had been blockaded since late October, according to the Morton County Sheriff's Office. (Morton County Sheriffâs Department via AP)
In this image provided by Morton County Sheriffâs Department, law enforcement and protesters clash near the site of the Dakota Access pipeline on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Cannon Ball, N.D. The clash came as protesters sought to push past a bridge on a state highway that had been blockaded since late October, according to the Morton County Sheriff's Office. (Morton County Sheriffâs Department via AP)
In this image provided by Morton County Sheriffâs Department, law enforcement and protesters clash near the site of the Dakota Access pipeline on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Cannon Ball, N.D. The clash came as protesters sought to push past a bridge on a state highway that had been blockaded since late October, according to the Morton County Sheriff's Office. (Morton County Sheriffâs Department via AP)
In this image provided by Morton County Sheriffâs Department, law enforcement and protesters clash near the site of the Dakota Access pipeline on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Cannon Ball, N.D. The clash came as protesters sought to push past a bridge on a state highway that had been blockaded since late October, according to the Morton County Sheriff's Office. (Morton County Sheriffâs Department via AP)
In this image provided by Morton County Sheriffâs Department, law enforcement and protesters clash near the site of the Dakota Access pipeline on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Cannon Ball, N.D. The clash came as protesters sought to push past a bridge on a state highway that had been blockaded since late October, according to the Morton County Sheriff's Office. (Morton County Sheriffâs Department via AP)
In this image provided by Morton County Sheriffâs Department, law enforcement and protesters clash near the site of the Dakota Access pipeline on Sunday, Nov. 20, 2016, in Cannon Ball, N.D. At least one person arrested as protesters sought to push past a bridge on a state highway that had been blockaded since late October. (Morton County Sheriffâs Department via AP)
Police confront protesters with a rubber bullet gun 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
A protester watches the confrontation with police from the sidelines 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
Police use a water cannon to put out a fire started by protesters 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
Police use a water cannon to put out a fire started by protesters 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
Police use a water cannon to put out a fire started by protesters 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 protester watches the police 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 protester gets warm by a fire 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
Protesters stand off with police 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 horse gallops through a confrontation between police and protesters 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
Police use a water cannon on protesters 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 protester is given medical attention 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 protester is given medical attention 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
Police tear gas protesters 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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Police reported that at least 33 people were taken into custody at the mall for trespassing on private property.

Kandi Mossett, an activist with the Indigenous Environmental Network opposed to the Dakota Access Pipeline, said 40 to 50 protesters were arrested. Many were seen being led away in handcuffs to a police van parked outside the mall.

According to accounts from police and protest organizers, the demonstrators were orderly and quiet.

Still, Mossett said the rally was held at the main shopping center of North Dakota's capital city on "Black Friday" in a bid to draw more attention to a pipeline project that critics say poses a threat to water resources and sacred Native American sites.

See more images from the protests:

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Powerful images from the Standing Rock protests
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Powerful images from the Standing Rock protests
Protesters demonstrate in solidarity with members of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota over the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 15: Erin Wise (C) of Cannon Ball, North Dakota, leads a protest march from the Army Corps of Engineers to the White House to demonstration against the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline November 15, 2016 in Washington, DC. Organizers held a national day of action to call on President Barack Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers to permanently reject the pipeline before President-elect Donald Trump takes office. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 13: Activists gather in front of the White House during a rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline September 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. Activists held a rally to call on President Barack Obama to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Holly Doll, of Mandan, an enrolled member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, holds a protest sign outside the stateâs capitol building, in Bismarck, N.D., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Doll and more than 60 other demonstrators voiced their opposition to an oil pipeline crossing an under water source that lies on the reservation land. (AP Photo/ John L. Mone)
Demonstrators chant as they gather in front of the White House in Washington, DC, on September 13, 2016, to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. The US government on September 9, 2016 sought to stop work on a controversial oil pipeline in North Dakota that has angered Native Americans, blocking any work on federal land and asking the company to 'voluntarily pause' work nearby. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
Cousins Jessica and Michelle Decoteau, of Belcourt, both enrolled members in the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa, don slogans opposing the Dakota Access Pipeline, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, in Bismarck, N.D. The pair, who participated in a peaceful protest outside the North Dakota state capitol, say they stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux. (AP Photo/John L. Mone)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, greets Jasilyn Charger, a member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Youth Council, after Charger spoke to a group of supporters of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe who were rallying in opposition of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, during a rally by the White House, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, in Washington. Sanders also spoke at the rally. The company developing the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline says it is committed to the project, despite strong opposition and a federal order to halt construction near an American Indian reservation in North Dakota. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Omaka Nawicakincinji Mendoza, 7, holds a sign while on the shoulders of his father, Bill Mendoza, who is Oglala Lakota Nation and moved to Washington from Pine Ridge, S.D., as they attend a rally by the White House with members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and other tribal nations and their supporters in opposition of the Dakota Access oil pipeline, Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2016, in Washington. The boy's name in Lakota means "Stands in Defense of the Earth." The company developing the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline says it is committed to the project, despite strong opposition and a federal order to halt construction near an American Indian reservation in North Dakota. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 15: Hundreds of demonstrators block the entrance to the Army Corps of Engineers headquarters as they protest against the proposed Dakota Access Pipeline November 15, 2016 in Washington, DC. Organizers held a national day of action to call on President Barack Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers to permanently reject the pipeline before President-elect Donald Trump takes office. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Protesters against the construction of the Dakota Access oil pipeline block a highway in near Cannon Ball, N.D., on Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. Law enforcement officials have asked people protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline to vacate an encampment on private land, and the protesters said no. Protesters are trying to halt construction of the pipeline they fear will harm cultural sites and drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux. (AP Photo/James MacPherson)
Juan Flores (L) a traditional Aztec dancer looks on during a rally on September 13, 2016 in San Diego, California, in support for the protestors at Standing Rock, North Dakota who are fighting construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The US government last week sought to stop construction on a controversial oil pipeline in North Dakota that has angered Native Americans, blocking any work on federal land and asking the company to 'voluntarily pause' work nearby. / AFP / Sandy Huffaker (Photo credit should read SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - A demonstrator raises his first next to a placard as they gather in front of the White House in Washington, DC, September 13, 2016, to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline. The US government on September 9, 2016 sought to stop work on a controversial oil pipeline in North Dakota that has angered Native Americans, blocking any work on federal land and asking the company to 'voluntarily pause' work nearby. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
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About 100 protesters had assembled at the mall by the time officers arrived shortly before 1 p.m. local time, Bismarck police Sergeant Mark Buschena said. Arrests were made after protesters disregarded repeated orders to disperse, he said.

The incident marked the latest in a string of protests against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline, being built to carry Bakken shale oil from North Dakota to Illinois en route to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

The 1,172-mile (1,885-km) project is mostly complete except for an especially controversial segment that is supposed to run under Lake Oahe, formed by a dam on the Missouri River, about a half mile from the Standing Rock Sioux reservation.

The Obama administration in September postponed final approval of a permit required to allow tunneling beneath the lake, a move intended to give federal officials more time to consult with tribal leaders. But the delay also led to escalating tensions over the project.

Confrontations between law enforcement and protesters turned violent again last weekend when police used water hoses in sub-freezing weather in an attempt to disperse about 400 activists near the proposed tunnel excavation site.

(Writing and additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by Andrew Hay)

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