CBC news is reporting an on-going protest against shale gas development in New Brunswick, Canada escalated dramatically today:
Shale gas protesters and RCMP trying to enforce an injunction are clashing in Rexton, N.B., leading to at least five police vehicles being set on fire and the arrest of a First Nations chief.
In a news release, the RCMP said more than 40 protesters have been arrested for various offences including firearms offences, uttering threats, intimidation, mischief and for refusing to abide by a court injunction
The same CBC report quotes Chief Gabrial Atwin, Kingsclear First Nation as saying: “We urge all sides not to resort to violence as history has proven these tactics are not productive.“
The National Post contacted Elsipogtog First Nation councillor, Robert Levi, who said he went to the site in Rexton, N.B. after hearing the RCMP was enforcing the injunction against the protestors’ blockade.
The injunction was granted earlier this month to end the blockade of a compound where energy company SWN Resources stores exploration equipment.
Levi said he planned to stay at the site to try to block the movement of the company’s equipment.
“We’re going to stay — I mean, we have to,” he said. “This is what our people have been fighting for.”
The Globe and Mail spoke with participants who describe the situation as very tense. According to Susan Levi-Peters, a former chief of the Elsipogtog First Nation:
“It is really very volatile. It’s a head-to-head between the people and the RCMP right now and the Warriors are in the middle surrounded by the RCMP and then the RCMP are surrounded by the people,” said Ms. Levi-Peters, who estimated that hundreds of police officers were at the scene and even more protesters.
According to the Globe and Mail community protestors have engaged in various blockade activity over the past summer and there have been previous arrests.