SWN Resources – a Texas-based resource company – has been interested in the natural resources under traditional Mi’kmaq and Elsipogtog territory near Rexton, New Brunswick for some time.
Since June of this year, the company has been using large trucks with seismic equipment (called “Thumpers”) in an attempt to locate shale gas deposits.
If found, SWN would have to frack the earth to get to the gas. This is exactly what First Nations community members and their Acadian and Anglophone allies are worried about. They want to protect the water.
Fracking is so toxic, it can light water on fire.
On Thursday October 17, 2013, as a result of a court injunction sought by SWN Resources, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) moved into the Warrior’s Camp – where First Nations activists and their allies had been holding ground and blockading the highway.
In the early light, Molotov cocktails were thrown from the forest towards police lines, but missed.
The police responded throughout the day with a detachment of (RCMP) snipers, police dogs and pepper spray.
Forty people were arrested that day.
Jason Augustine and David Mazerolle have been released and face numerous charges including mischief, unlawful confinement, escaping lawful custody, obstructing a peace officer and assaulting a peace officer.
Six men from the Mi’kmaq Warrior’s society — Stevens, Augustine, Mazerolle, Aaron Francis, Germain Junior Breau, and James Sylvester Pictou — face 37 charges in all.
According Charmaine Sock, on Friday November 8, 2013, four members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society are still being held in custody since October 17, 2013 and have plead not guilty in the New Brunswick Provincial Courthouse on Friday Nov 8th.
According to lawyer, Alison Menard, the men have been denied access to phones and visitations.
There is a publication ban in effect.
You can learn more about the Warrior Defence Fun here.
In an interview with the Halifax Media Co-op, “Susan Levi-Peters, former Chief of Elsipogtog says, ‘I am happy they have entered their plea of Not Guilty and I am saddened that they are still locked up for protecting our women and elders who were for fighting for our water and land.’
‘Our warriors should be free, not locked up. We are not the savages”, states Susan in reference to RCMP treatment of Mi’kmaq people on the morning of the police raid, where police used sniper teams, and brought in officers from multiple provinces to enforce an injunction on the anti-shale gas encampment. The former Chief of Elsipogtog goes on to say that the RCMP violated an agreement of Peace and Friendship made with the Mi’kmaq people only hours before, “As the trial begins, we will find out why the RCMP ambushed our people in the early hours of the morning when they had offered tobacco in Peace and Friendship the night before.’
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