Tensions persist at scene of anti-fracking protests in New Brunswick
Published Saturday, October 19, 2013 2:38PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, October 19, 2013 11:09PM EDT
A handful of protesters, angered by what they called biased reporting of the anti-fracking movement, asked media outlets to leave the scene at Rexton, N.B., Saturday morning.
During the ongoing demonstration in Rexton, some of the protesters told a CTV News crew to leave their satellite truck behind, at around 11 a.m.
CTV Atlantic reporter David Bell, along with other reporters, was filming in a warehouse parking lot before being approached by protesters.
Vehicles belonging to CTV News and Global News were left behind. The CTV News truck was later driven out of the area and returned to the crew. Global News reporters were also able to retrieve their vehicle in the afternoon.
The Assembly of First Nations Chiefs in New Brunswick issued a statement Saturday “condemning the acts of intimidation against representatives of the media.”
Protesters blockaded Highway 11 in Rexton for a short period of time on Saturday. The blockade was later cleared in the day, and by evening, RCMP Const. Jullie Rogers-Marsh said the roads in the area were clear.
Protesters also gathered in Sackville and Moncton the same day, demonstrating against the development of a shale gas sector in the province.
They want SWN Resources, which is owned by Houston-based Southwestern Energy, to stop seismic testing, and leave New Brunswick.
Meredith Fisher, a demonstrator in Sackville, wants to see an end to the oil industry.
“Our ideal situation would be a ban, complete ban, not even a moratorium, we just don’t need shale gas,” Fisher said.
Cooling off period with province
Protests a few days earlier had turned violent, after police were called in to dismantle a two-week-old blockade on Thursday. Six police vehicles were set ablaze and Molotov cocktails were thrown at officers. Police responded with rounds of tear gas, and nearby schools had to be locked down.
At least 40 protesters were arrested that day for firearms offences, threats, intimidation, mischief and violating the injunction.
In an effort to avoid further tensions, Elsipogtog Chief Arron Sock, who was among those arrested, met with New Brunswick Premier Dave Alward on Friday.
“It’s just basically agreeing to try and establish a series of meetings to try and figure out what happened. What went wrong, how we can prevent this in the future,” Sock said.
Alward echoed Sock’s sentiments, and said he believes they can “put a framework in place, a process in place, where it is necessary for dialogue to move forward.
SWN Resources issued a statement Friday saying it is in the early stages of exploration in New Brunswick.
With a report from The Canadian Press, CTV’s Todd Battis and David Bell