By Stephen C. Webster on October 17, 2013

Canadian authorities on Thursday sent armed paramilitaries wearing camouflage and carrying high-powered rifles to clear out a group of anti-fracking protesters who've blockaded a gas exploration site since Sept. 30, area media reported.

"I can confirm police are enforcing a court injunction and in order to ensure public safety, we have closed the road until it is resolved," a spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) told the CBC. "The road will remain closed until the situation has been resolved and certainly public safety is our No. 1 priority at this point."

The blockade was being manned by members of the indigenous Elsipogtog Mi'kmaq First Nation, the Acadians and the Anglophones, who banded together with local activists to prevent a gas exploration project in New Brunswick from going forward. The company behind the project is SWN Resources Canada, a subsidiary of Houston-based SWN Energy.

Video shared on Twitter by activists at the scene (embedded below) shows men in camouflage uniforms aiming sniper rifles and assault weapons at the protesters as activists repeatedly inform them that they are not armed. A reporter with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (ATPN) also captured images of several police vehicles on fire after the confrontation began around 1 p.m. eastern.

APTN reporter Ossie Michelin

Photo: APTN reporter Ossie Michelin, via Twitter.

Canadian police sprayed dozens of protesters with pepper spray during the melee, which allegedly began after the chief of the Mi'kmaq tribe was "manhandled," according to Canada.com reporter Lauren Strapagiel. There were also reports of tear gas being deployed, and a nameless officer in camo was quoted saying: "Crown land belongs to the government not to the fucking natives."

The RCMP later added that at least 40 people were arrested. "The RCMP has worked diligently with all parties involved in hopes for a peaceful resolution," it said in a media advisory. "Those efforts have not been successful."

This video was published to YouTube on Thursday, Oct. 17, 2013.

N.B. protest turns violent (via CBC Television, October 13, 2013).

Section: 

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

Subscribe to The Progressive and Get A Free 2015 Calendar

BREAKING NEWS: Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson of Bhopal infamy died a fugitive from justice. The Progressive got...

This Halloween movie will scare anyone who cares about news.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter