Published on Monday, December 2, 2013 by Common Dreams
Drilling company seeking extension to injuction as reports of violence, arrests mount along Highway 11 blockade
Anti-fracking activists across Canada have taken to the streets Monday, answering a rallying call by the Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation who have called for an Emergency Day of Action to protest assault on native lands and right to protest.
After a series of weekend anti-fracking blockades where members of the Elsipogtog community and their allies faced off against energy company SWN Resources in New Brunswick, supporters of the indigenous protest movement are rallying outside the Canadian parliament in Ottawa.
Elsewhere, answering a call by the activists known as the “Highway 11 Land Defenders,” supporters across the globe are expressing their solidarity in the ongoing battle between the fossil fuel industry with backing by the provincial government and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and those who are stepping up to protect the land.
“[The Elsipogtog] are standing up against brutal police repression, and continued theft of Indigenous lands and ongoing colonization. Show them they are not alone!” the protesters wrote on their website. “Where possible, highway shutdowns are encouraged however any action of support, such as banner drops, are welcome. #ShutDownCanada“
Ahead of the rally, supporters flooded twitter with pictures of banners and other shows of solidarity:
Among other actions, supporters erected a morning blockade at the Port of Metro Vancouver and “photo-bombed” a local news broadcast where Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper was interviewed Monday.
— Louisette Lanteigne (@lulex) December 2, 2013
— ѕyndιcalιѕт (@syndicalisms) December 2, 2013
In the New Brunswick capital of Fredericton, protesters are gathered outside the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench where drilling company SWN Resources is seeking an extension to the temporary injunction originally granted on November 22.
The injunction prohibits protesters from coming within 20 meters from the side of roads where the company is working and 250 meters from the front or back of its trucks. Updates to the hearing are being tweeted by CTV Atlantic’s Andy Campbell.
Meanwhile, along New Brunswick’s Highway 11, protesters continue to brave cold, slushy weather in their ongoing standoff against the RCMP and SWN Resources trucks. Demonstrators tweeted early reports of arrests and said the “RCMP are going crazy. “
You can watch clips from a live stream from Monday’s blockade here.
“The struggle against exploitations, especially in indigenous lands, is growing. Everywhere the dominant culture demands more land, more resources, at the expense of the locals and the rest of nature. And everywhere, we fight back,” wrote a coalition of Northern European environmentalists and indigenous groups, who themselves have fended off the opening of new mines in traditional reindeer herding areas, gathered in Sweden on Monday to show their support for the Elsipogtog’s struggle.
“Your fighting spirit gives us hope and inspiration,” they added. “Same struggle, different battles.”
Protesters injured as Elsipogtog anti-shale gas rallies continue
Solidarity protests held in Montreal, Vancouver and Toronto
There are reports of activists being hit by vehicles Monday as satellite protests were held in several spots across Canada in solidarity with Elsipogtog, a Mi’kmaq First Nation protesting shale gas exploration in New Brunswick.
Startling video from Montreal shows a Chevy Tracker stopped in front of a group of protesters forming a blockade at Pie-IX and Notre-Dame streets. The driver then inches forward into the group before accelerating. About five seconds later, a figure is seen falling off the car and onto the road as someone screams.
Montreal police say they have seen the video but have not received a complaint.
At the main protest site on Highway 11 in New Brunswick, there have been reports on Twitter of several. Const. Damien Thériault told Canada.com that RCMP do not yet have any information on the alleged incident.