REXTON, N.B. – RCMP officers fired rubber bullets and used tear gas to break up an anti-shale gas protest in eastern New Brunswick on Thursday.
Police arrested a number of protesters, including a Mi’kmaq First Nation chief, at the scene.
Demonstrators, who have blocked Route 134 outside Rexton for a number of weeks, retaliated by setting six vehicles, including police cars, on fire.
About 100 protesters were at the scene of the blockade Thursday morning when RCMP officers acting on a court injunction moved in to dismantle the encampment blocking seismic testing equipment owned by SWN Resources.
SWN Resources, has been conducting exploration for shale gas in various parts of New Brunswick since 2010. The company has been the subject of repeated protests and even suspended testing at one point due to opposition to its operations.
The protesters have been demanding a halt to seismic testing for shale gas deposits in the province.
Premier David Alward addressed the violence in Rexton, saying he respected people’s right to protest as long as it is “peaceful and lawful.” “… [I] cannot condone and quite frankly I’m greatly troubled by the violence we’re seeing today. I’m calling on First Nations leaders and New Brunswickers to sit and engage in that dialogue. That is important,” Alward said.
READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE (WITH VIDEOS) HERE: 40 arrested, police vehicles burned as RCMP clash with N.B. shale gas protesters | Globalnews.ca.