UPDATE: A victory! On October 21st, the Court of Queen’s Bench lifted a Texas-based company's injunction end the blockade protecting Mi’kmaq traditional territory from fracking!
What: NYC Emergency demo in solidarity with the Mi’Kmaq Indigenous nation and Idle No More
When: 4:00 PM, October 18th
Where: 1251 Avenue of the Americas
Thursday morning, heavily armed members of the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) descended on a peaceful protest against fracking led by the Mi’Kmaq Indigenous nation and including their allies in the local Anglophone, Francophone and Atlantic Canadian communities.
It now appears that several people have been shot and that many prominent activists, as well the many members of the local Mi’Kmaq government, have been arrested. As of writing, reports indicate police cars have been set ablaze. We are hoping that the situation does not deteriorate further. There are elders and children at the protest site, and reports indicate the RCMP are toting live ammunition.
Throughout the summer, these groups had protested and confronted the right of SWN Resources, a Texas-based corporation, to do exploratory testing in advance of fracking and so threaten their common water, land and health in Kent County (a few hours East of the Maine border). Over 40 protesters were arrested for non-violent civil disobedience this summer.
In September, tensions flared when the protesters blockaded a compound where SWN was storing several of its “thumper” trucks (used for seismic testing). Ultimately, this action led to negotiations with the Premier of New Brunswick. These appear to have broken down as the RCMP have, as of October 17, sought to enforce an injunction filed by SWN to clear the road of the blockade.
The struggle against fracking is one that has seen popular movements rise across the continent. In New Brunswick, we have seen an unprecedented alliance of groups come together in defense of their shared home and in support of Indigenous rights.
This conflict is underscored by the fact that the land on which the fracking is set to take place is considered by the Mi’Kmaq to be unceded indigenous land and, as such, any such extraction without explicit Mi’Kmaq consent is illegal. The Mi’Kmaq have made it clear, time and again, they do not wish to see fracking on their lands and have issued eviction notices to SWN.
This act of colonialism comes only a day after the United Nations Special Raporteur on the Rights of Indigenous People filed a preliminary report after his visit to Canada, suggesting that Indigenous Rights are the country’s most pressing human rights concern.
At 4:00 pm today we will be calling on the Canadian government to call off the RCMP and negotiate on a nation-to-nation basis with the Mi’Kmaq. We are calling for an end to fracking, both in New Brunswick and throughout Turtle Isalnd (North America).