New Brunswick: Support grows as Indigenous communities and allies stand up against fracking

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Photo: Claire Stewart Kanigan

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Many observers predicted that the Harper government's attacks against environmental protection and Indigenous rights would lead to a "long, hot summer" across Canada -- and it hasn't taken long to start heating up.

In New Brunswick, the Elsipogtog First Nation has mobilized to defend their land against shale gas extraction and fracking. Writer Claire Stewart Kanigan is present at the blockade and will be filing reports for rabble.ca.

There have already been arrests made against activists in recent weeks, and awareness and support for protest action is growing.

On Monday, the Sovereignty Summer campaign, including organizers from Idle No More and Defenders of the Land, issued the following call out for solidarity. 

Elsipogtog First Nation -- This is an official notice and "Call Out" to all Idle No More & Defenders of the Land -- Sovereignty Summer -- activists, allies and supporters, and partnership organizations to act in aid and in the defence of grassroots Elsipogtog First Nation, families, community members, and supporters near Moncton, New Brunswick.

In the last few weeks, Elsipogtog First Nation community members and allies have taken peaceful action to prevent seismic testing vehicles and workers from testing for shale gas deposits for purposes of resource exploitation on Indigenous territories.

The protestors have remained strong and peaceful for numerous days and the RCMP have become more aggressive and violent; arresting a man as he held a sacred pipe in his hand, as well as arresting community members at the site of the sacred fire. SWN contractors have also threatened to run over Mi'kmaq youth at the site.

In total, this past weekends Aboriginal Day's 12 arrests brings the total number of arrestees to 29 from both the Mi'kmaq and non-Indigenous communities at the location of a sacred fire being kept (located at the junction of highways 126 and 116 west) in Kent County near Moncton. These arrests included the arrest of a eight and a half month pregnant Mi'kmaq woman as well as local man, Dave Morang. Mr. Morang was injured by an SWN-contracted security truck, who failed to stop after hitting him.This peaceful resistance is on-going to prevent SWN Resources Canada from fracking in the immediate area.

INM organizers have been in contact with Elsipogtog First Nation community members and have requested further support.

We will have more updates as this story develops. 

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