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MN Judge Rejects Charges for Pipeline Protesters: “To Criminalize Their Behavior Would Be the Crime”

HeadlineSep 19, 2023

A Minnesota judge has dismissed criminal charges against three Indigenous water protectors who were arrested while protesting at the construction site of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline in 2021. The three women — Winona LaDuke, Tania Aubid and Dawn Goodwin — were arrested on the banks of the Mississippi River on ceded Anishinaabe land as they sang, danced and prayed near construction crews. In a landmark opinion delivered Monday, Aitkin County Judge Leslie Metzen wrote the women were exercising their rights to free speech and to freely express their spiritual beliefs. She dismissed the charges against them “in the interests of justice,” concluding, “To criminalize their behavior would be the crime.”

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