Despite the vicious RCMP-led raid which culminated in the arrests of 40 people – four of whom have still not been released since October 17th – on-the-ground opposition to seismic testing in Kent County, New Brunswick, continues.
On Monday, November 5th, an event marketed as a march for ‘Unity and Solidarity’ took place in Fredericton, New Brunswick, where activists have erected a longhouse and continue to keep a sacred fire lit opposite the provincial Legislature House.
For unexplained reasons, the 650-person strong march avoided any interaction with provincial politicians – who were sitting in Legislature – and simply marched through the streets of the provincial capital.
However, a splinter group of activists did later make their way to the Delta Hotel, where a who’s-who of industrial representatives were marketing their wares at the annual Energy, Mines and Petroleum conference. The conference included representatives from SWN, as well as other gas exploration companies slated to test for shale gas in New Brunswick. Also in attendance – and presenting to industry reps – was Assembly of First Nations Regional Chief Roger Augustine.
Earlier in the summer claimed that he “didn’t know enough” about the technique of hydraulic fracturing to have an opinion on the subject.
On Sunday, November 10th, Michael Connors, claiming to legally represent SWN, met with several protestors at an alternate encampment, along highway 116, close to Elsipogtog First Nation. Connors, a partner with the McInnes Cooper firm, was videotaped offering a deal to a gathered crowd of about a dozen people; If the anti-shale activists would remain peaceful in their protests for the upcoming two weeks, and allow SWN to seismic test, then he might be in a position to drop a lawsuit that SWN has filed for damages against several named protestors, as well as ‘John Doe’ and ‘Jane Doe’. Connors only went so far as to offer to drop the lawsuit against one named person, one Willi Nolan.
Those in attendance verbally refused the offer and pledged to continue their opposition, and several activists have created a mobile camp along highway 11, in the Laketon, New Brunswick, area. Earlier in September, SWN placed several kilometres of ‘geo-phones’ along this section of highway. Geo-phones are the equipment used to gather seismic data, and are a clear indication of inclement seismic testing.
As of press time, live tweets were reporting that a crew of about 15 activists at the Laketon camp were surrounded by a force of about 20 RCMP officers.
As for the members of the Mi’kmaq Warriors Society still behind bars, Aaron Francis, Coady Stevens, Jim Pictou and Germaine ‘Junior’ Breau have still not been released from custody since their arrest on October 17th. All of them pled not guilty to their charges, and their trial is slated to begin on November 15th. Supporters are encouraged to write to them at:
Prisoners’ Name c/o SRCC 435 Lino Rd., Shediac, NB, E4P 0H6