BISMARCK, N.D. — The first people to be sent to jail for protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline in North Dakota have lost their appeals to the state's Supreme Court.

Mary Redway, of Providence, Rhode Island, and Alexander Simon, of Lamy, New Mexico, were convicted last October of disorderly conduct. Simon also was convicted of physical obstruction of a government function. Redway served four days in jail. Simon served 12 days.

Both appealed their convictions, citing a lack of evidence and arguing their participation in protests was constitutionally protected activity. Supreme Court justices rejected those arguments.

The Water Protector Legal Collective says the decision is "an ominous ruling for anyone who wishes to gather and express frustration with government or corporate action."

Pipeline protests resulted in 761 arrests in 2016 and 2017.