Elsipogtog Resist Fracking, Highway 11 Shut Down

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from Earth First! Newswire

Days after the targeted arrests of three activists, the Elsipogtog have again rallied to protest Houston-based energy company South West Natural’s illegal exploitation of First Nations lands.

At this point, at least 70 police and 50 activists are engaged in a tense standoff that has shut down both Highway 11 and an overpass.

According to one report from the RCMP, four protesters have been arrested thus far, including one resident of Elsipogtog. Police are reportedly wielding guns with beanbag rounds, and there is a K-9 unit on the scene.

Explaining the arrests, one Elsipogtog protestor recounted, “They just attacked, literally, I swear to God they just attacked. So we ran… There was no reason to arrest them. There were no trucks nearby.”

An injunction granted by Canadian courts to SWN states that protestors must keep more than 20 meters away from the roadside and 250 meters away from fracking equipment (including trucks).

According to another protestor, it is the RCMP who are not interested in following the rules: “I said, ‘We’re still within our rights’ and he says, ‘Right now you aren’t.’ So he forced us back across the other side of the Richibucto sign, and he wanted us to go back to the overpass, and we refused to go any further than we did and that’s when things got a little heated, but not out of control.”

Two days ago, three protestors were arrested on the premise that they had violated the injunction. However, the RCMP clearly targeted specific protestors, revealing a strategy of neutralization rather than abeyance to the law.

One of the arrested on November 27 was journalist Miles Howe, who has been targeted for arrest four times in an obvious display of catch-and-release tactics. Howe was also targeted, along with Elsipogtog Chief Aaron Sock, on October 17, when an RCMP raid that involved snipers and plastic bullets provoked some member(s) of what had been a peaceful occupation to set numerous police cars ablaze.

According to a report in Aboriginal Peoples Television Network about today’s events, “The heavy RCMP presence appears to be an attempt to neutralize any resurgence from the demonstrators whose numbers have been bolstered by Acadian and Anglophone supporters from surrounding communities.”

One protestor on the scene declared, “You want to know who is leading this protection? The people that walk this earth, my ancestors. It is in our hearts to protect this, and our hearts are leading this.”

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