Divergent actress Shailene Woodley pleads not guilty to trespass charges

Actress Shailene Woodley has denied charges of trespass and engaging in a riot during a protest against a new oil pipeline.

Ms Woodley, who is best known for her roles in the Divergent series and the tear jerker The Fault in Our Stars, is charged with misdemeanor counts of trespassing and engaging in a riot along with 27 other people protesting the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

The 24-year-old pleaded guilty in her absence at court. She had filmed and broadcast the protest, which took place earlier this month, live on Facebook Live and was seen during the footage being taken into custody.

She said on camera that she had been heading peacefully back to her car when: “They grabbed me by the jacket and said I wasn’t allowed to continue, and they have giant guns and batons and zip ties and they are not letting me go.”

The star could face jail and a fine after being arrested at the construction site. She was part of a 100-strong protest which took place at the site against the pipeline plans.

Ms Woodley is well known for her passion for the environment. She has previously joined members of North Dakota’s Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to campaign against the $3.7bn pipeline project.

The pipeline, which is set to stretch for 1,100 miles is being constructed by a consortium of companies, which is being headed by the Energy Transfer Partners LP company in a bid to bring Bakken shale direct to US Gulf Coast refineries from North Dakota.

Construction, however has been made difficult by demonstrators who believe the pipeline could not only result in oil spills but that it could harm drinking water and historically and culturally significant areas.

Supporters, however, say it will provide a much safer and cheaper way to transport Bakken shale, which is one of the largest oil discoveries of modern times, rather than taking it by road or rail.

Ms Woodley has been using her high profile to raise publicity for the issue. Her latest movie Snowden was released just last month. In it, she plays the role of Lindsay Mills, the girlfriend of Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who leaked details about the government’s widespread programme of surveillance. He was given asylum in Russia after running from the US three years ago.

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