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Dakota Access pipeline protesters' Facebook trick 'overwhelms' police monitoring

Wondering why everyone on Facebook is at Standing Rock, North Dakota? Protestors from the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and others against the Dakota Access Pipeline are telling people to login to Facebook and check in at the Indian reservation.

“The Morton County Sheriff’s Department has been using Facebook check-ins to find out who is at Standing Rock in order to target them in attempts to disrupt the prayer camps,” protesters say on Facebook. “So water protectors are calling on everyone to check in at Standing Rock, North Dakota, to overwhelm and confuse them. This is concrete action that can protect people putting their bodies and well-beings on the line that we can do without leaving our homes. Will you join me in Standing Rock?”

Related: Facebook, Twitter cut off surveillance tool used by police to monitor protesters

A wave of people have been following through, standing in solidarity with protesters to “overwhelm” the police department.

Protests against the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline have been ongoing since early 2016, but the situation has escalated in the past week as more than 140 protesters were arrested during standoffs with the police.

Energy Transfer Partners, the Texas-based company behind the pipeline, plans to transport crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois, and it says the Dakota Access pipeline is a safe way to do so, according to The New York Times. Environmental activists and Native Americans are focusing on the impact on the area’s water supply, as well as damage to the region’s sacred cultural lands and tribal burial grounds.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued the Army Corps of Engineers for allowing the pipeline project to go through, but an inspection by the state archaeologist found no cultural artifacts on the land. The federal appeals court said the tribe hasn’t “demonstrated that an injunction is warranted.”

Related: Jay Z releases powerful protest song Spiritual in honor of recent violence

The tribe appealed the ruling, but it was denied by the court in October.

More than $1 million has been raised by a GoFundMe campaign launched by protester Ho Waste Wakiya Wicasa, who says the money will go to supplying the camp where protesters are living.