By Ossie Michelin
APTN National News
REXTON, NB–RCMP officers moved in early Thursday morning to enforce an injunction against a Mi’kmaq-led barricade that has trapped exploration vehicles belonging to a Houston-based firm conducting shale gas exploration in New Brunswick.
An eye-witness who left the barricade after police moved in said a Molotov cocktail was thrown and that some warriors claimed they were “willing to die” holding the line. The eye-witness also said the RCMP officers moved in with guns drawn.
Miles Howe, a journalist with Media Co-op, also said in a Facebook posting that Molotov cocktails had been thrown at police and that rubber bullets had been fired in the surrounding woods.
“Currently still in standoff,” he wrote in the posting on wall of Facebook group, Shale Gas Alerts New Brunswick.
Police arrested some of the activists as residents from the Mi’kmaq community of Elsipogtog, which has been at the heart of the anti-fracking movement, swarmed to the site.
Drumming, cursing, crying and barking dogs echoed through the air as the activists at the barricade clashed with police.
The blockade against SWN Resources Canada sits just off Route 135 and 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.
The blockade has been anchored by the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society which, at one point, blocked 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 against 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.
More to come