Breaking: More Arrests at Ongoing New Brunswick Anti-Fracking Stand-Off

Moderator’s Note: This is ongoing, and organizers need immediate support.  Stay updated here:

-EF! News

by Miles Howe / Halifax Media Coop

Greg Cook gets roughed up by RCMP. Photo: Miles Howe

Rexton, New Brunswick – RCMP have currently closed off automobile access to the Irving-owned compound that houses five of SWN Resource Canada’s seismic testing trucks, or ‘thumpers’. The police have closed off both north and south exits to highway 134 off the highway 11, as well as the 134 itself in both directions. Walk-in access to the compound is currently the only way in and out.

At about 3pm, the call went out through social media that the RCMP had blocked off access to the compound, which, in effect, acted as a rallying cry to local community members opposed to SWN’s attempts to seismic test in Kenty County. Seismic testing is the precursor to hydraulic fracturing, the highly-polluting and water-intensive technique meant to extract natural gas from shale rock. Hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’, has already caused extensive environmental problems in Pennsylvania, Wyoming, Texas, Colorado and other states.

Lorraine Clair receives medical attention after being struck by RCMP cruiser. Photo: Miles Howe

By 4pm, about 100 anti-shale activists had gathered at the gated entrance to the compound. Twenty minutes later, tensions momentarily flared when a police cruiser, driven by Sergeant Lemire, struck Elsipogtog local resident Lorraine Clair in the leg. Clair had been standing in front of the cruiser when Lemire put the car into drive and rolled into her. Members of the Mi’gmaw Warriors Society demanded that Lemire be escorted away from the scene, as his presence had become potentially incendiary to the peacefully gathered crowd.

At about 6pm, with both north and south access routes to the compound being blocked, Greg Cook, moderator of the popular Facebook site ‘Shale Gas Alerts New Brunswick’, attempted to bring water to the compound by driving his car around the RCMP road block. Cook navigated around a first line of cruisers, but was blocked, stopped and arrested by a second line of RCMP. He was dragged from his automobile and was bleeding from a laceration above his left eye, suffered when the police put his head to the pavement.

Another Mi’gmaw youth was subsequently arrested for simply leaning on a police cruiser.

By 9pm, an attempt at negotiations between representatives of the various community groups present and the RCMP had begun. Demands from the representatives varied from an outright call to end hydraulic fracturing in New Brunswick, to removing the K9 unit that is currently stationed at the northerly end of the police blockade.

As night falls, the stand-off continues.

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