12 more opposed to shale gas arrested as RCMP turn violent on National Aboriginal Day

Man throws himself under moving thumper, cops punch his partner in face



ELSIPOGTOG, NEW BRUNSWICK – 12 more people were arrested today in their attempts to stop SWN Resources Canada from conducting seismic testing along highway 126, in Kent County, New Brunswick.

At about 1:15pm, a convoy of cars parked themselves on River Lane, near the town of Kent Junction, about 100 metres from the thumpers. About 40 people then stationed themselves on the side of the road adjacent to the 3 thumpers, and began drumming and singing. The thumpers stopped their procession, and a group then stationed themselves in front of the trucks, blocking their paths.

RCMP forces then arrived, and a confrontation – as happened last Friday morning when 12 people were arrested attempting to halt the thumpers – ensued. The RCMP approached the gathered crowd in a line formation that spanned the highway. The crowd in front of the thumpers thinned to about ten people while the remainder of the crowd moved to the shoulder of the highway and continued to drum and sing.

RCMP then arrested 8 people, including one Mi’kmaq woman eight and a half months pregnant. It should be noted that one non-Indigenous woman from the local community who had stationed herself in front of the thumpers – and who claimed that it was her full intent to be arrested – was instead forced to the side of the road by RCMP. Whether this was based on an intent to paint those arrested as being from the local Indigenous community is unclear.

Things continued for about 2 hours in something of a standoff, with a line of RCMP in front of a line of Indigenous and non-Indigenous protestors. The thumper trucks sat parked on the highway.

What happened next happened very quickly, and is it difficult to precisely determine the exact chain of events.

A signal came from one RCMP officer, and the line of about 20 police that flanked those opposed to shale gas exploration and drilling began moving into an action pattern. The RCMP officer closest to the thumpers stepped from the highway onto the shoulder of the road, effectively creating a human barricade between the thumpers and the last person on the shoulder of the road. The thumpers then started their engines, and began to drive off.

From the back of the line, one man then quickly broke through the line of RCMP and threw himself under the lead moving thumper. Another man then ran across the road and was quickly taken down. A woman – who witnesses say is the partner of the first man who went under the truck – was then removed from the line by RCMP officer Plourde. Eyewitnesses say that the woman was dragged from the shoulder of the road, and was never on the highway. Eyewitnesses also say that she was subsequently punched in the face. Photographs show the woman with blood coming from the side of her mouth.

In total, today’s 12 arrests - which just happens to be National Aboriginal Day - brings us to 29 arrests from both the Mi'kmaq and non-Indigenous communities.

SWN contractors threaten to run over Mi'kmaq youth

12 year old Elsipogtog boy smudges truck near sacred fire, has life threatened



ELSIPOGTOG, NEW BRUNSWICK – At approximately 9:45am this morning, June 20th, a crew of Geokinetics workers began collecting the geophone sensors within the close vicinity of the sacred fire encampment, located at the junction of highways 126 and 116 west, in Kenty County, New Brunswick. The crew from the Texas-based company, contracted by SWN Resources Canada to do their seismic testing in search of shale gas, consisted of a pick-up truck, two persons in the cab, and a crew of five other workers picking up equipment.

As they continued in a southerly direction towards the sacred fire encampment, Amy Sock and Louis Jerome, both Mi’kmaq peoples, approached them with drums in hand. They drummed near the workers and truck, but in no way impeded their procession. Sock and Jerome were joined by a contingent of five other peoples, who joined them in singing the Mi’kmaq Honour Song. At this point the truck stopped and the driver of the truck appeared to be filming or taking photographs of people with his cell phone.

A twelve year old Mi’kmaq youth from Elsipogtog First Nation then began to smudge the stopped truck and workers with burning sage in an abalone shell. The youth, whose parents have requested he not be publicly named due to safety reasons, then recounts that the Geokinetics worker in the passenger seat of the truck threatened to run him over.

 “[While I was smudging them] the people in the back were saying ‘thank you’ to me,” says the youth. “I was saying ‘I will pray for you.’ [When I got to the front of the truck] the man in the passenger seat said ‘Send backup’ and ‘If you don’t leave I’ll run you over.”

Several people in the immediate vicinity verified that the individual in the passenger seat of the pick-up truck did indeed threaten the youth with running him over.

RCMP arrived several minutes later and the youth’s mother noted that a report has been filed with them.