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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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Like a kid in a candy store
When those boxes of heavily redacted documents start to pile in, reporters at The Narwhal waste no time in looking for kernels of news that matter the most. Just ask our Prairies reporter Drew Anderson, who gleefully scanned through freedom of information files like a kid in a candy store, leading to pretty damning revelations in Alberta. Long story short: the government wasn’t being forthright when it claimed its pause on new renewable energy projects wasn’t political. Just like that, our small team was again leading the charge on a pretty big story

In an oil-rich province like Alberta, that kind of reporting is crucial. But look at our investigative work on TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline to the west, or our Greenbelt reporting out in Ontario. They all highlight one thing: those with power over our shared natural world don’t want you to know how — or why — they call the shots. And we try to disrupt that.

Our journalism is powered by people just like you. We never take corporate ad dollars, or put this public-interest information behind a paywall. Will you join the pod of Narwhals that make a difference by helping us uncover some of the most important stories of our time?

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