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Successfully Defending Water Protectors Against Line 3 Criminal Charges

Background

Brave water protectors put their bodies on the line tirelessly and peacefully protesting the construction of the Line 3 pipeline in northern Minnesota, in opposition to the destruction of Indigenous land, resources, and the environment.

Enbridge’s Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline runs through hundreds of miles of Northern Minnesota land, including the lands of the Anishinaabe people, many culturally important wild rice beds, and the headwaters of the Mississippi River. Enbridge is already responsible for the largest inland oil spill in the United States.

Despite their constitutional right to protest, hundreds of water protectors – activists and organizers aimed at protecting the Earth’s water – were falsely charged and arrested for challenging the pipeline. Many of the water protectors charged were Indigenous women.

The Center for Protest Law & Litigation secured dismissals of criminal charges against every water protector at Line 3 whom we directly defended. We also helped facilitate and worked with a collaborative team of movement attorneys who secured hundreds more dismissals, including beating back outrageous “felony theft” charges leveled against peaceful water protectors for civil disobedience against the pipeline company.

We also obtained documents through our investigation that revealed Jonathan Frieden, the lead prosecutor in Hubbard County, Minnesota, who wanted to jail hundreds of peaceful Line 3 protestors, sought Enbridge pipeline corporation’s money to fund these prosecutions.

Legal Information

Line 3 Documents: Minnesota Prosecutor sought Enbridge funding to prosecute Water Protectors

PCJF News

Line 3 Letter: CPLL Challenges “Outrageous” Violations of Water Protectors’ First Amendment Rights Opposing Line 3

Jane Fonda on the repression of Water Protectors and the legal challenge we are mounting to defend their constitutional and human rights.

Press Coverage

Truthout – Line 3 Pipeline Water Protectors Head to Trial on Trumped-Up Felony Charges