Protesters camping near Native American lands in North Dakota to protest the construction of an oil pipeline clashed late Saturday with construction company workers they blamed for destroying ancient sites.

Hundreds of protesters confronted a bulldozer crew in an area known as Cannon Ball, amid the vast grasslands of the northern US state.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe claims the crew dug up and destroyed sacred burial grounds, places of prayer and other cultural artifacts — even after the pipeline developer had voluntarily paused construction in the disputed area less than a mile (1.6 kilometer) from the tribe’s reservation.

Angry protesters broke through a fence and fought with private security guards, who employed dogs and pepper spray.

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