Ongoing clash at Elsipogtog, SWN and RCMP breaks in!

UPDATE  (Nov. 18):

Mi’kmaq claim another highway victory in ongoing battle against shale gas exploration

UPDATE (Nov. 15): 

Elsipogtog grassroots declare “victory” on the highway, while leadership aims to stop SWN in courtroom

Note: THERE IS MAINSTREAM MEDIA BLACKOUT HAPPENING RIGHT NOW OVER ELSIPOGTOG. As we publish this, highway 11 has been shut down by RCMP to prevent supporters from coming in, and SWN testing is going on, with scarce, pacifist resistance.  Anyone coming across those news and Tweets, please SPREAD THIS!

Some up-to-date Tweets (use safely):

#Elsipogtog

#ElsipogtogSolidarity

@apihtawikosisan

@Osmich



From APTN National News

LAKETON, NB–Tensions are high north of Elsipogtog First Nation as a line of RCMP officers is now confronting Mi’kmaq gathering in an attempt to stop thumper trucks operated by SWN Resources Canada.

APTN National News reporter Ossie Michelin said RCMP officers have formed a line in front of the trucks and are confronting increasingly angry Elsipogtog residents.

A woman from Elsipogtog First Nation was arrested Thursday morning as SWN Resources resumed its controversial shale gas exploration north of the community.

RCMP officers arrested Lorraine Clair, a high-profile Elsipogtog resident who has consistently opposed SWN’s exploration work.

New Brunswick RCMP spokeswoman Jullie Rogers-Marsh confirmed one person was arrested for “causing a disturbance.” Rogers-Marsh said no charges have yet been laid.

“Things are continuing to be peaceful other then the arrest,” said Rogers-Marsh. “We are going to continue to stay in the area and monitor the situation. We are going to continue to ensure public safety.”

SWN’s thumper trucks returned to an area about 46 km north of Elsipogtog. The thumper trucks work with geophones, which were strung along Hwy 11 by SWN Wednesday, to capture images of shale gas deposits underground.

RCMP officers were videotaped loading riot gear earlier in the day in Moncton, NB, which sits about 100 km away from SWN’s current exploration area.

Heavily armed RCMP tactical units raided a Mi’kmaq-led anti-fracking camp on Oct. 17 to free SWN exploration vehicles which were trapped inside a compound owned by JD Irving Ltd.

More to come

Earlier events:

Elsipogtog prepares to confront SWN’S machinery

APTN National News
LAKETON, NB–Warriors from Elsipogtog First Nation were preparing Tuesday evening to confront the machinery owned by a Houston-based energy firm conducting shale gas exploration work just north of the Mi’kmaq community.

SWN Resources Canada is expected to roll out its thumper trucks Wednesday in an area along Hwy 11 and about 46 kilometres north of Elsipogtog First Nations. The company laid out a string of geophones Tuesday which will be used to capture the vibrations emitted by the thumper trucks to create imagery of shale gas deposits in the area.

The majority of residents in Elsipogtog want to stop SWN’s exploration work fearing its completion would lead to the extraction of shale gas deposits through hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Several warriors and supporters gathered around a fire Tuesday evening along Hwy 11 preparing for Wednesday’s appearance of the thumper trucks. Several planned to stay at the site overnight, with some sleeping in tents and others beneath tarps strapped to branches.

“When the sun rises I will be there waiting,” said Sequoyah Bernard, 19, one of the Warriors. “Whatever we decided to do that at that time, we will do.”

Bernard said the tactic could simply be standing the way of the trucks.

“We are not planning anything violent, it will be peaceful, we are going to stand together,” said Bernard.

The RCMP warned people at the encampment earlier in the day that they would be charged with mischief if they impeded SWN’s machinery from doing its work, according to video of the encounter which was posted on Facebook.

Bernard said the threat of charges did little to dampen their resolve.

“With all due respect, we are not listening to what they say. If they want to run us over, they can try,” said Bernard.

Bernard said the RCMP was in the area and a cruiser with its lights flashing was parked nearby along the highway.

“It is just something I feel I have to do,” said Bernard. “I am here for my people, protecting my people. That is what my job title is here.

RCMP Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said the RCMP is monitoring the situation.

“Based on things that have happened previously, it would be irresponsible for us not to be in the area,” said Rogers-Marsh.

Rogers-Marsh said the RCMP is not there to protect SWN.

“We are not private security,” she said.

The Canadian military also tried to dispel rumours it’s involved in ongoing police operations in the area.

“Currently, there is no official request for military support to RCMP,” said Capt. Clayton Myhill, with the Canadian Joint Operations Command.

SWN referred calls to communications firm Cape Consulting. Calls to senior consultant Tracey Stephenson went to voice mail.

SWN is planning to conduct 14 days of exploration before leaving the region, according to one of the lawyers hired by the firm.

Michael Connors, who is a partner with East Coast law firm McInnes Cooper, met with several dozen people from Elsipogtog and the surrounding communities late Sunday afternoon. He said the company would resume operating their thumper trucks Wednesday.

Connnors said they would face violence if they confronted the company with a blockade.

“Unfortunately, blockades lead to violence,” said Connors, according to a video of the meeting posted on Facebook.

Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi told Connors that the community would not be backing down.

“We are going to be there. Whatever happens, the ball is in your court. Whatever happens, you’re the ones who are going to make the calls,” said Levi, according to the nine-minute video. “Us as Natives and the protectors of this land, we are going to protect it, it is our land, we never ceded this land and we are going to protect it before these waters are contaminated.”

A woman in the crowd, who identified as non-Native, also pledged opposition to the exploration.

“As non-Natives we are going to protect the future of our children,” said the woman, in the video. “So non-Natives and Natives are together.”

SWN has faced intense and prolonged opposition to its shale gas exploration work around Elsipogtog First Nation which exploded after heavily armed RCMP tactical units raided an anti-fracking camp along Route 134 on Oct. 17.The camp was blocking several of SWN’s vehicles which were in a compound owned by JD Irving Ltd.

While the raid freed SWN’s trucks, it sparked day-long clashes between Elsipogtog residents and the RCMP. Several RCMP vehicles were torched and about 40 people were arrested.

A camp still remains on Route 134, which sits about 15 km southeast of Elsipogtog.

People in Elsipogtog and surrounding communities fear the discovery of shale gas would lead to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The controversial extraction method is viewed by many as posing a dire threat to water sources.

news@aptn.ca

Speaks for itself

Heavy RCMP presence accompanies SWN’s return
LAKETON,NBA heavy RCMP presence is in an area Tuesday where a Houston-based energy company is expected to resume its controversial shale gas exploration.About 30 people from Elsipogtog and their supporters have set up a camp near Hwy 11 by Laketon, NB., where SWN Resources is expected to begin laying down geophones in preparation for seismic testing set for Wednesday.The exploration area is about 46 kilometres north of Elsipogtog First Nation.Elsipogtog War Chief John Levi said the RCMP presence may be larger than what was witnessed during the Oct. 17 raid of an anti-fracking camp that was blocking SWN’s vehicles in a compound owned by JD Irving Ltd.“You never know what they are going to do,” said Levi. “They might be shooting their real guns this time, that is what I am worried about.”Levi said he’s been getting calls and texts all morning from an RCMP liaison officer trying to speak to him.“I don’t feel like to talking to them right now,” said Levi.RCMP Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said the RCMP is monitoring the situation.“Based on things that have happened previously, it would be irresponsible for us not to be in the area,” said Rogers-Marsh.Rogers-Marsh said the RCMP is not there to protect SWN.“We are not private security,” she said. “We have no issues as far as protesting, everybody has a right to do it as long as they do it peacefully and don’t break the law.”SWN referred calls to communications firm Cape Consulting.  Calls to senior consultant Tracey Stephenson went to voice mail.About a dozen Mi’kmaq Warriors camped out overnight along Hwy 11.  The group was joined by reinforcements on Tuesday morning and people there gathered around a small fire keeping warm.“Geophones are all set on the road, SWN is working really fast and the trucks and driving back and forth,” one of the people at the site told APTN National News.SWN’s lawyer Michael Connors, who is a partner with East Coast law firm McInnes Cooper, met with several dozen people from the Elsipogtog First Nation and the surrounding communities late Sunday afternoon.Connors told the people that SWN would withdraw a lawsuit against several community members if the Houston-based firm was allowed to finish its exploration work unimpeded.

The meeting was held at a longhouse erected at an anti-fracking encampment used over the past summer.  The area sits off Hwy 116 near Elsipogtog First Nation.

Connors told the people in the longhouse that SWN would be working for 14 days and warned them not to block the company’s movements or they would face violence.

“I’m not asking anyone not to protest, but I am asking that we don’t do anything that would lead to violence,” said Connors, according to video of the meeting posted on Facebook by Brian Milliea. “Unfortunately, blockades lead to violence.”

Connors said SWN just wants to finish its work and leave the area.

“We don’t want violence and if we can get through two weeks then we will go away for awhile,” said Connors. “I am not saying we are not going to come back, we may not come back, but I think everybody needs some time, you know a break.”

Levi told Connors that the community would not be backing down.

“We are going to be there. Whatever happens, the ball is in your court. Whatever happens, you’re the ones who are going to make the calls,” said Levi, according to the nine minute video. “Us as Natives and the protectors of this land, we are going to protect it, it is our land, we never ceded this land and we are going to protect it before these waters are contaminated.”

A woman in the crowd, who identified as non-Native, also pledged opposition to the exploration.

“As non-Natives we are going to protect the future of our children,” said the woman, in the video. “So non-Natives and Natives are together.”

SWN has faced intense and prolonged opposition to its shale gas exploration work around Elsipogtog First Nation which exploded after heavily armed RCMP tactical units raided an anti-fracking camp along Route 134 on Oct. 17.

While the raid freed SWN’s trucks, it sparked day-long clashes between Elsipogtog residents and the RCMP. Several RCMP vehicles were torched and about 40 people were arrested.

A camp still remains on Route 134, which sits about 15 km southeast of Elsipogtog.

People in Elsipogtog and surrounding communities fear the discovery of shale gas would lead to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The controversial extraction method is viewed by many as posing a dire threat to water sources.

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