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Canadian First Nation anti-fracking protest: Arrests, pepper-spray, snipers, torched cars

Published time: October 18, 2013 01:03
Edited time: December 24, 2013 15:07
Photo fronm twitter/@MattThor

Photo fronm twitter/@MattThor

An anti-fracking protest descended into violence when an estimated 100 police officers sought to control hundreds more Canadian protesters who set cars on fire and threatened officers mounted on horseback.

Tension spilled over Thursday when the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) moved in to take down barriers erected by members of the Elsipogtog First Nation tribe in New Brunswick, Canada.

Activists and local aboriginals have held demonstrations for a week to protest shale gas exploration in the region. The method of gas extraction involves drilling shallow, low-pressure fractures into the earth, which adds thousands of liters of chemicals to groundwater and emits foul odors from the ground.

At least 40 people were arrested Thursday for firearms violations, threats, intimidation, mischief, and violating a court-order injunction, the RCMP said. First Nation Chief Aaron Sock was among those taken into custody.

The RCMP claimed that at least one shot was fired Thursday by someone other than an officer and that at least five police cars were set on fire. They are investigating the possibility that explosives were planted at the scene and asserted that demonstrators were throwing rocks and bottles, along with spraying some kind of liquid at officers.

The RCMP has worked diligently with all parties involved in hopes for a peaceful resolution. Those efforts have not been successful. Tensions were rising, and serious criminal acts are being committed,” RCMP constable Jullie Rogers-Marsh said in a news release.

There have been threats made to employees who were working with a private security firm at the site, as all as firearms offenses, incidents of intimidation, mischief and other criminal behavior. For those reasons and to ensure public safety, police action was required.”

Chief Sock issued an eviction notice to SWN Resources Canada two weeks ago, warning the oil and gas company to leave native land. SWN seeks to begin seismic testing before it begins fracking for shale gas.

First Nation, mobilized in the belief that the energy exploration constitutes an invasion of tribal land, started blocking Highway 11 between Rexton and Sainte-Anne-de-Kent. That action inspired an October 3 court injunction ordering protesters to stay off the road.

The simmering fury came to a head Thursday morning when the RCMP moved on the highway to force demonstrators away. What exactly followed remains unclear. Native leaders maintain that the police provoked them by drawing their weapons, while the RCMP asserted that they had no choice but to engage.

Susan Levi-Peters, a former chief of the Elsipogtog First Nation, told the Toronto Globe and Mail that the conflict quickly escalated after Chief Sock was apprehended. Pictures of Sock in handcuffs were posted frequently on Twitter throughout the day, inspiring messages of solidarity for the tribe.

Others said the chaos began when shots were fired, either by the police or an activist.

It is really very volatile,” Levi-Peters said. “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.”

Comments (64)


jacktar2001 18.07.2014 23:46

"The RCMP claimed that at least one shot was fired Thursday by someone other than an officer and that at least five police cars were set on fire."

Canada, the peaceful, joins the global people's patriotic revolution. However, " least one shot was fired," doesn't add up to SNIPERS. The News has to avoid sensationalism, and keep the facts exactly straight.


READ MORE 23.10.2013 21:17

[quote name='Michaël Roy' time='20.10.2013 10:35'.

The RCMP going down on them weapons drawn IS the way the white race has been advancing its interests, the modus operandi has not changed much in the last few centuries. Don't pretend this is not what's happening here.[/quote]

You're missing the point. This isn't a racial issue, but a corporate and environmental one. Fracking is effecting white people, too.


READ MORE 23.10.2013 21:15

Ron Prosek 22.10.2013 14:25

We're fighting the same battle here in the States. We white Europeans colonized the Native Americans here. We pushed them off their land and broke every treaty. But what goes around comes around, or call it karma. Now the energy companies are coming into our communities and colonizing us with fracking, toxic frack waste, pipelines, etc. Now it is time for us all to stand together against energy company colonization of our communities. We stand with the Elsipogtog People!


It's not karma, it's just what happens when you let corps do whatever they want.

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