In part because of North Dakota’s brutal winters, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced this weekend that protestors must vacate their large demonstration site near Cannonball River on Dec. 5.

 For months, thousands of Native Americans and environmentalists have camped out, protesting the 1,170 mile pipeline. Contrary to what most of the public believes, the pipeline won’t be built on the Standing Rock Sioux’s reservation.

The call to evacuate “is necessary to protect the general public from the violent confrontation between protestors and law enforcement officials that have occurred in this area, and to prevent death, illness, or serious injury to inhabitants of encampments due to the harsh North Dakota winter conditions," the Army Corps of Engineers told the Standing Rock Sioux, according to CNN.

Previous attempts to remove the protestors have prompted violence, with the local sheriff’s department saying protestors started fires and threw everything from Molotov cocktails to wood to feces at authorities. One protestor was even charged with attempted murder after firing a gun at an officer, narrowly missing him. The police response ranged from restrained to roughly proportionate, using noise-based disbursement tactics and shooting sandbags, water cannons and rubber bullets—all of which prompted nationwide claims of police brutality.

Perhaps seeking to avoid such a confrontation, the federal government said this weekend that it would not forcibly remove protestors, but that anyone who continues to continues to occupy the site will “do so at their own risk as emergency, fire, medical and law enforcement cannot be adequately provided in those areas.”

It’s unclear how the demonstrators will respond, so stay tuned. This is either the beginning of the end or the beginning of a major show-down.

Meanwhile, the Standing Rock Sioux and its allies in the environmental movement are less than thrilled with some who have traveled to North Dakota to protest the pipeline, the Independent reports:

People demonstrating at North Dakota's Access Pipeline protest have expressed frustration at white demonstrators who are reportedly turning up to "colonise" the camp.

Concerns have been raised by protestors on social media, who claim that people are arriving at the Standing Rock demonstration for the "cultural experience" and treating it like Burning Man festival.

[One protestor wrote on Facebook]: "White people are colonizing the camps. I mean that seriously. Plymouth rock seriously. They are coming in, taking food, clothing and occupying space without any desire to participate in camp maintenance and without respect of tribal protocols.

"These people are treating it like it is Burning Man or The Rainbow Gathering and I even witnessed several wandering in and out of camps comparing it to those festivals."

(Less a few concerts, plus a few explosives, that is…) 

Hippie tourist or not, anyone who remains at the main protest site after Dec. 5 will be considered unauthorized, and they may face fines, arrests or charges.