Uneasy calm shrouds Rexton battle site

An uneasy calm settled Friday over the site of Thursday’s raid by heavily armed RCMP teams on a Mi’kmaq-anchored encampment that was sealing-in a compound holding exploration vehicles belonging to a Houston-based energy firm.

By Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
REXTON, N.B.–An uneasy calm settled Friday over the site of Thursday’s raid by heavily armed RCMP teams on a Mi’kmaq-anchored encampment that was sealing-in a compound holding exploration vehicles belonging to a Houston-based energy firm.

The section of Route 134 in Rexton, N.B., that runs by the remaining encampment has been reduced to one lane by red pylons and camouflaged Mi’kmaq volunteers equipped with walkie-talkies.

While keeping an eye on the flowing traffic and between crackling bursts from his walkie-talkie, Austin Levi, 16, said social media video of Thursday’s police raid compelled him to the site.

Levi, who is originally from Elsipogtog, said he wasn’t fazed by the prospect of finding himself in the middle of a repeat of yesterday’s raid that saw camouflaged RCMP officers wielding assault weapons clear the encampment to free SWN Resources Canada’s trapped exploration vehicles.

“It is about nature, our environment, protecting what we love,” he said.

The encampment sits about 15 kilometres north of Elsipogtog and 80 km north of Moncton.

The encampment and the highway blockade it spawned were the latest salvos in an ongoing battle against SWN’s shale gas exploration that raged throughout the summer and has led to dozens of arrests.

The Mi’kmaq Warrior Society was instrumental in organizing the encampment and blockade, which was reduced to allow one lane of traffic through last week.

The Mi’kmaq had been supported by local Acadian and Anglophone residents. They feared the discovery of shale gas would lead to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Delta Augustine came down Thursday from Eskinopetij First Nation after seeing video of the opening moments of the police raid posted by Suzanne Patles, a member of the warrior society.

Augustine, who is a jingle-dress dancer, said she arrived just before the protest turned chaotic, leading to the torching of six vehicles, including RCMP cruisers. The burnt out shells of the vehicles sit along Route 134 near the encampment.

“A lot of things happened yesterday, so I brought my dress,” said Augustine.

Jingle-dress dancing is used for healing.

Augustine said an RCMP officer pointed a gun at her husband’s head during Thursday’s raid.

She said the battle against fracking is not just a First Nations issue.

“It’s an everyone issue,” she said.

[email protected]

@JorgeBarrera

 

 

Online Producer / Ottawa

Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.

3 thoughts on “Uneasy calm shrouds Rexton battle site

  1. If the First Nations say NO it’s NO!’ Shale Gas is Wrong those who are pushing it are wrong, remember this people’ this is Native Land and YOU are renters here, if you can not respect your land Lords then you will cause an up-rise, the Shale gas can and will leak into the water supply and KILL, Smarten up Canada!

Comments are closed.