Oakland, Cairo, Athens, Brazil, Istanbul. All scenes of significant clashes with police these last years. Today, add to that list Rexton, New Brunswick, Canada.
The twitterverse exploded this morning with reports of Royal Canadian Mounted Police taking up sniper positions, pepper spraying blockaders and arresting Mikmaq tribal elders, while other protesters torched numerous police vehicles.
Synopsis and photos aggregated by the Sun News Network.
Mounties have arrested at least 40 protesters at an anti-fracking blockade in New Brunswick after police cruisers were torched when RCMP moved in.
Charges include firearms offences, uttering threats, intimidation, mischief, and refusing to abide by a court injunction.
Native protesters hit with rubber bullets and pepper spray apparently retaliated by torching at least five cop cars.
Mounties were trying to enforce an Oct. 3 court injunction against the standoff near Rexton, where SWN Resources Canada is testing for shale gas... Elsipogtog Mi'kmaq First Nation members have been blocking workers' access to their trucks... The protesters are concerned the process to extract natural gas could damage the environment and contaminate their drinking water.
Here's a bit of the backstory. the Mi'KMaq have been blockading the fracking company site since September 28th.
There is a video which I can't find now with a young woman's voice saying "Hey! Don't point that at my mom!"
From the Occupy New Brunswick Facebook page.
BREAKING NEWS - An estimated 200 police have attacked the Rexton NB shale gas blockade with rubber bullets and tear gas, and have placed snipers into the woods. Canine units are on site, and reports indicate an elderly lady was shot in the eye by RCMP. Several RCMP vehicles have been set on fire by the Mikmaq warrior society in retaliation. For the second time in several months, Mediacoop journalist Miles Howe may have been arrested while covering the developing story.
How did it all get out of hand?
...the RCMP have said they were waiting before acting on the injunction, in the hopes that a peaceful resolution would be found.
"But it looks like the RCMP grew tired of waiting and moved in this morning," he said.
Protester Melina Augustine, who says she was arrested for obstruction, described the confrontation to CTV Atlantic.
She said there were around 100 officers at the protest.
"It just got wild and they all tackled us down," she said, adding that her 67-year-old mother was tackled.
A councillor from the Elsipogtog First Nation said police used pepper spray on the crowd of protesters.
"They sprayed the crowd that was there," Robert Levi told the Canadian Press in an interview. "The chief was manhandled a little bit and all hell broke loose."
2:39 PM PT:
2:41 PM PT:
2:49 PM PT: An excerpt from a writeup of what's been happening by Courtney Harrop, one of the tweeters I've relied on to follow this story. Useful links in the full piece.
This morning while the west coast was still waking up, things were escalating on the east coast at the Mi’kmaq blockade against fracking.
For over two weeks, the road that leads to an equipment compound leased to Texas based energy company, Southwest Energy (SWN) has been blockaded by the Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation and their allies.
Since the summer there have been ongoing protests, direct actions, and other forms of radical action. The blockade has been preventing the thumper trucks ( huge vehicles that gather seismic data to determine the location of natural gas) from operating.
It has been reported that the blockade is costing SWN over 60,000 per day.
2:56 PM PT: JESUS HOLY SHIT
3:00 PM PT:
3:04 PM PT: Links to planned solidarity actions, petition, contact info for New Brunswick Governor.
3:05 PM PT:
3:08 PM PT: More Background.
...the Alward government cannot continue to ignore the fact that members of the Elsipogtog First Nation object to the exploration for shale gas.
"When you push a group of oppressed people into a corner, a little bit further into the corner, they're going to stand up and speak out and they don't just stand up and speak out individually they stand up and speak out united."
Public policy professor Ken Coates says not having a modern treaty with First Nations people is coming back to haunt the New Brunswick government. (University of Saskatchewan)
Coates says if there was a modern treaty signed in the Maritimes, then Crown land would be the primary source of settlement available to the governments of Canada and New Brunswick.
"What they're basically saying is if you guys keep developing these lands in the absence of a treaty, in the absence of a formal agreement you're basically taking the value out of those lands before we have a chance to get any claim to them."
Coates doesn't believe First Nations people want to stop development completely. Rather he says they want it stopped until there is a measure of environmental control and a negotiated financial return.
"They're tired of being left economically marginalized and without the opportunity to participate and they want the land and resources necessary to create a positive, constructive future for themselves and it seems to me to be a perfectly rational and reasonable argument and one that's overdue," said Coates."
3:22 PM PT: Trying to find some kind of confirmation for this:
3:52 PM PT:
5:10 PM PT: Good coverage by Aj Jazeera America
6:15 PM PT:
6:34 PM PT: Good article: Elsipogtog solidarity is spreading across Canada
It’s a growing grassroots response similar to that of the IdleNoMore movement. Groups across the country are mobilizing Thursday after violence broke out on the anti-fracking protest line in rural New Brunswick.
First Nations people across the country are being asked to show their support for Elsipogtog protesters fighting a protest injunction being enforced by the RCMP...