K'JIPUKTUK (Halifax) - Close to three hundred people listened to speeches and marched down Robie Street on Friday in solidarity with the anti-shale gas protesters in Elsipogtog.
The rally, organized on short notice by a broad coalition of community activists, started at the Irving station on Charles and Robie, the scene of earlier rallies in protest of New Brunswick fracking, and disbanded on the Commons.
Many passing cars honked their horns in support.
"This is very important in the sense that we all witnessed what happened yesterday," said Sherry Pictou, former Band Council Chief of the Bear River First Nation, who spoke at the rally.
"It should make us question our right in terms of indigenous peoples and human rights in Canada, because obviously foreign corporate interests are being put above human rights and indigenous rights," said Pictou.
Poet Ardath Whynacht urged people of settler origin in the crowd to think deep and hard about these violations of human rights that occurred in Elsipogtog.
"If you are shocked, if you are surprised, identify and aknowledge that you have been granted the privilege of living in a place where you feel the state protects you," said Whynacht.
"Many people have been living a war between state forces and their own communities throughout Canadian history. So I urge everyone, as an ally in this struggle, if you are of settler origin, begin first with your own reaction, and take it to your family, take it to your friends, take it to your grandparents and your parents, and interrogate your own feelings of shock and disbelief."
Elder Billy Lewis told the demonstrators that the mainstream press will likely focus on the images of cars burning and miss the true story of what transpired.
"I am concerned that the discussion will be not on water, not on land, not on the sacredness of those treaties, it will be about violence versus non-violence," said Lewis.
"Let's keep our focus on what matters, and that is those treaties, this land, this water. And the answer is resistance, but the best resistance is the one we got right here. The more people we have, the better our chances. We've got all the enemies we can use, we need all the friends we can get," Lewis said.
Sebastien Labelle, a member of Solidarity Halifax, one of many groups and individuals that came together at short notice to organize the event, told the Halifax Media Co-op that he was pleased with the attendance.
"The issue has been getting a lot of attention in communities and among people who care about fracking, and who care about the treaties between the Crown and First Nations," Labelle said.
"But the media have done a very poor job of covering the issue. It is really sad that it takes something as dramatic and outrageous as what happened yesterday for the media to start paying attention."
For Lewis there is little question what needs to be done.
"So let's go out there and rally more and more people, because believe me, the answer is a hell of a lot of people, the more people we have the better off we will be."
"Because there is more of us then there is of those assholes."