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RCMP arrest reporter, war chief at ongoing anti-fracking protest in New Brunswick



RCMP arrest reporter, war chief at ongoing anti-fracking protest in New Brunswick

(Media Co-op reporter is shown being arrested by the RCMP Thursday for allegedly uttering death threats against a senior RCMP officer. Photo by Jorge Barrera/APTN.)

By Jorge Barrera and Kenneth Jackson
APTN National News
Tensions flared again in New Brunswick where anti-fracking protestors have been holding camp when a reporter was arrested and a war chief charged for allegedly obstructing police in connection.

Police arrested reporter Miles Howe Thursday afternoon after walking up to him and shaking his hand. They then told him he was under arrest for allegedly making death threats against an RCMP officer.

War Chief John Levi was charged with obstruction in connection to Howe’s arrest.

Howe, who works for Media Co-op, an independent media organization, has been covering the ongoing protests since the middle of last month when they began.

During that time the RCMP have arrested dozens of protestors who are trying to stop seismic testing related to shale gas exploration in New Brunswick near the Elispogtog First Nation.

“Miles was arrested while I waited with him to get permission to go see exploration site,” APTN reporter Jorge Barrera tweeted and is on the scene. “Miles was arrested for allegedly ‘uttering death threats’ against senior RCMP officer who made the arrest after shaking Miles’ hand.”

Barrera said police took Howe’s phone and camera.

In a story posted to their website the Halifax bureau of Media Co-op accused the RCMP of a “blantant effort to silence” Howe’s reporting on the frontlines.

“His arrest is a clear effort to silence grassroots voices,” the story said.

A group of about 50 people from Elsiopogtog travelled to the site of Howe’s arrest Thursday afternoon and picked berries on the side of the road to “assert our sovereignty.”

The group also danced and drummed while waving the Mi’kmaq flag in front of RCMP trucks blocking a road leading to where exploration continues for shale gas.

Howe is being held at the Codiac detachment near Moncton.

No RCMP officers on the scene would comment.

jbarrera@aptn.ca