Dakota Access Pipeline
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 DakotaREUTERS/Stephanie Keith

Tension flared once again at the Dakota Access pipeline as protesters tried to push past a long-blockaded bridge on a state highway, only to be turned back by a line of law enforcement using water cannon and what appeared to be tear gas, CBS News reported .

Sunday's skirmishes began around 6 pm after protesters removed a burned-out truck on what's known as the Backwater Bridge, not far from the encampment where they'd been for weeks as they demonstrated against the pipeline.

The Morton County Sheriff's Department estimated 400 protesters sought to cross the bridge on state Highway 1806 in what it called "an ongoing riot".

According to the Chicago Tribune, a live stream early Monday showed a continued standoff, with large lights illuminating smoke wafting across the scene.

At least one person was arrested. Protesters said a gym in Cannon Ball was opened to aid demonstrators who were soaked on a night the temperature dipped into the low 20s or were hit with tear gas.

Rema Loeb told the Associated Press he was forced to retreat from the bridge because he feared being doused with water on the freezing night. Others, he said, needed medical treatment after being hit with tear gas.

"It's been just horrible," said the 83-year-old Loeb, who travelled from Massachusetts about two weeks ago to join the protests.

The bridge lies near where protesters had set up camp on private property owned by the pipeline developer, Energy Transfer Partners, before they were forcibly removed by law enforcement October 27. It's also about a mile from an uncompleted section under Lake Oahe, a Missouri River reservoir, where work has been on hold by order of federal agencies.

There were reports of protesters setting fires, says CBS Bismarck, North Dakota affiliate KXMB-TV. Area fire departments were on scene, the station said. Later, the sheriff's office put the number fires at about a dozen.

A video shot by a protester showed what appeared to be water cannon and tear gas being fired at protesters. One medic for the protesters said rubber bullets and pepper spray had also been used.

A protesters media group claimed 167 Water Protectors, as the protesters refer to themselves, had been hurt, seven with severe head injuries, adding that police were targeting protesters' heads and legs. But the sheriff's office said, "We have not received any reports that can be verified of protesters that were injured."

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