ELSIPOGTOG, NEW BRUNSWICK – About 25 RCMP officers in uniform, with about a dozen police cruisers, continued today to flank equipment owned by gas exploration company SWN Resources Canada as they proceeded with seismic testing of highway 126 in Kent County, New Brunswick.
Pushing the scattered crowd of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people back "50 metres distance" from the southward approaching seismic trucks – or "thumpers" – RCMP first arrested one demonstrator and chased another into the woods before arresting Susanne Patles.
Patles, a Mi'kmaq woman, had scattered a line of tobacco between herself and the approaching police, then proceeded to draw a circle of tobacco in the highway, where she then knelt and began to pray. After about two minutes, police arrested Patles. An officer Bernard noted that she was being charged with mischief.
Today's two arrests follow another three made last Wednesday, when people again placed themselves in the path of SWN's thumpers. Residents fear that the tests will lead to hydraulic fracturing – or fracking – of the area.
Lorraine Clair, arrested on Wednesday, is recovering from nerve damage suffered from rough treatment handed her by RCMP officers.
Resistance to SWN's presence, which is located in a part of traditional Mi'kma'ki territory known as Signigtog – or District 6 – has so far been strong. Thumper trucks have for days been met with people from the surrounding communities who object to fracking, as well as supporters from around the Maritimes who are beginning to flock towards the focal point of the highway.