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#MIKMAQBLOCKADE: RCMP Respond to First Nations Fracking Protest with Arrests, Snipers

The RCMP responded to a First Nation’s protest against shale gas fracking in New Brunswick with arrests and pepper spray this morning. Reports from the clash show images of a highly-militarized police response to the blockade along Route 134 near Rexton, N.B. in front of a compound belonging to SWN Resources, a Houston-based company that recently performed seismic testing, a precursor to fracking, in the area.

The Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation has been protesting the development of the region’s shale gas resources for months. In June, the RCMP responded to the lighting of a sacred fire with arrests. Today, a reported 75 officers responded to the peaceful blockade to enforce an injunction, sending 10 officers in military fatigues with sniper rifles. Watch a video of the morning's events on this feed.

Elsipogtog councilor Robert Levi reported that “dozens” of people have been targeted with pepper spray. “The chief was manhandled a little bit and all hell broke loose,” he said.

Chief Arren Sock, pictured below, was apparently in custody, but according to Postmedia News, RCMP Const. Julie Rogers-Marsh could not confirm if any arrests have been made. *Update: Postmedia News is reporting that at least 40 arrests have been made.

In this video below, numerous heavily armed officers appear on the scene and a woman behind the camera asks a man in fatigues not to point his gun at her mother.

It appears numerous police vehicles were set on fire, with twitter reports claiming up to 14 cars are burning.

 

The Halifax Media Co-op is reporting that one of their writers, Miles Howe, may have been arrested.

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We hear it time and time again:
“These are the stories that need to be told and you are some of the only ones telling them,” John, a new member of The Narwhal, wrote in to say.

Investigating stories others aren’t. Diving deep to find solutions to the climate crisis. Sending journalists to report from remote locations for days and sometimes weeks on end. These are the core tenets of what we do here at The Narwhal. It’s also the kind of work that takes time and resources to pull off.

That might sound obvious, but it’s far from reality in many shrinking and cash-strapped Canadian newsrooms. So what’s The Narwhal’s secret sauce? Thousands of members like John who support our non-profit, ad-free journalism by giving whatever they can afford each month (or year).

But here’s the thing: just two per cent of The Narwhal’s readers step up to keep our stories free for all to read. Will you join the two per cent and become a member of The Narwhal today?

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