(RCMP, some in full camouflage and wielding assault rifles, moved in on Mi’kmaq led anti-fracking blockade early Thursday morning. Photo via @maryposa74)
RCMP move in to enforce injunction against Mi’kmaq-led anti-fracking blockade
APTN National News
REXTON, NB–Heavily armed RCMP officers, some clad in full camouflage and wielding assault weapons, moved in early Thursday morning to enforce an injunction against a Mi’kmaq barricade that has trapped exploration vehicles belonging to a Houston-based firm conducting shale gas exploration in New Brunswick.
The officers were initially met by members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society which has anchored the barricades for over two weeks.
There were also reports that officers fired rubber bullets in the woods around the barricade.
Tensions were high on both sides as the raid unfolded.
“Crown land belongs to the government, not to fucking natives,” APTN’s Ossie Michelin heard one of the camouflaged officers involved in the raid shout to protestors.
“Go back where the fuck you came from,” shouted one of the activists at the scene.
An RCMP spokeswoman said the operation was ongoing. The spokeswoman said there were no military elements is involved in the operation.
“Bring the fucking dog, see what happens, you want another officer to go down?” one warrior is heard shouting off camera.
“It’s a camera, it’s a camera get your guns off me,” says Patles, who filmed the event. “Get your guns off me, this is a phone.”
It’s unclear if the RCMP arrested Patles. Officers did arrest some of the activist at the site as residents from the Mi’kmaq community of Elsipogtog, which has been at the heart of the anti-fracking movement, swarmed to the area in support.
Drumming, cursing, crying and barking dogs echoed through an air tinged with the small of tear gas and sage as the tense scene unfolded.
Three schools were also in lock down in the area as a precaution.
The blockade against SWN Resources Canada sits just off Route 135 and sits about 80 kilometres north of Moncton and 15 km northeast of Elsipogtog.
The blockade was the latest salvo in a battle against SWN’s shale gas exploration that raged throughout this past summer and led to dozens of arrests.
Until recently, the blockade shut down a section the highway completely. The warriors opened up one lane for traffic last week.
Mi’kmaq, Acadian and Anglophone residents in the area believe the discovery of shale gas will lead to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, and they fear the extraction method poses a threat to the area’s water and environment.
SWN received an extension to the injunction gains the blockade which had set to expire on Oct. 12.
Elsipogtog Chief Arren Sock had been in talks with New Brunswick Premier David Alward in hopes of finding a peaceful end to the blockade.
Alward’s office could not be reached for comment.
More to come