Craigslist ad promises money to those who join West Acres protest

FARGO-The Fargo Police Department and West Acres Shopping Center are bracing for potential trouble on Friday, Nov. 18.An online ad posted this week on craigslist.com called for individuals to gather at West Acres on Friday to protest the Dakota A...
West Acres mall has experienced strong holiday sales. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO-The Fargo Police Department and West Acres Shopping Center are bracing for potential trouble on Friday, Nov. 18.

An online ad posted this week on craigslist.com called for individuals to gather at West Acres on Friday to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Police Lt. Bill Ahlfeldt said Wednesday, Nov. 16, that if there is trouble and West Acres asks for assistance, the Police Department is ready to help.

He said because West Acres is private property, people are subject to arrest if they are asked to leave and do not do so.

He added that the department tries to handle such matters without making arrests whenever possible.

The online ad, which has now been taken down, suggested people would be paid for showing up to demonstrate, Ahlfeldt said.

West Acres issued a statement Wednesday stating it will not put up with any kind of disruption.

"West Acres has the utmost respect for free speech and the right to assemble peacefully, rights provided and protected by the first amendment," the statement said.

"However," the statement added, "West Acres is private property and throughout our history we have exercised our private property rights to not be a venue for protests, as they pose a disruption to our customers and tenants. We want everyone who visits West Acres to have an enjoyable and safe experience."