Lawsuit filed over highway shutdown during pipeline protest

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) – Two members of the Standing Rock Sioux and a reservation priest are suing over a five-month shutdown of a North Dakota highway during protests against the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

The state shut down a stretch of Highway 1806 in October 2016, after a bridge was damaged by fires. It wasn’t reopened until March 2017, after initial repairs were completed and nearby protest camps shut down.

The highway is the main route between the reservation and Bismarck.

The lawsuit says the closure violated people’s constitutional rights to travel, assemble, pray and express viewpoints. It seeks unspecified money damages from the state, Morton County and private security firm TigerSwan. It also seeks class action status, meaning it would apply to all affected people if granted.

The defendants didn’t immediately file a response.

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