NEWS

RCMP move in on shale gas protesters in Rexton

10/17/2013 07:17 EDT | Updated 01/23/2014 06:58 EST
The RCMP moved in on shale gas protesters on Route 134 in Rexton early Thursday, enforcing a court injunction that was issued on Oct. 3.

Public notice was issued at 7:45 a.m. by the RCMP that Route 134 was closed. A subsequent notice was issued at 8:21 a.m. indicating Highway 11 was closed between Rexton and Sainte-Anne-de-Kent and that people should expect delays.

Video taken by protesters was submitted to CBC shortly after the police action.

The video shows police officers with dogs moving toward the protest encampment on the side of road. Protesters yell obscenities at police and inform them elders and children are present.

Meanwhile, the Anglophone North school district posted a notice on its website that three schools in the area were open under lock-down conditions as a precaution.

The schools affected are Rexton Elementary, Eleanor W. Graham Middle School and Bonar Law Memorial High School.

"Safety and security is paramount for our students and staff," stated the school district's public notice.

The road between Rexton and Highway 11 has been the scene of a protest by a coalition of native and non-natives opposed to shale gas exploration.

Protesters moved into the area on Sept. 30, initially establishing a barricade to the staging area used by SWN Resources Canada to park its exploration vehicles and equipment.

The protest progressed to the point where barricades were also established on the road, preventing through traffic.

SWN Resources went to the Court of Queen's Bench seeking an injunction to end the protest. The injunction was granted on Oct. 3.

The injunction authorized police to arrest and remove any in contravention of the order to allow traffic to pass on the highway for the SWN Resources employees to be able to access their vehicles and conduct exploration work without harassment. However, with negotiations taking place between the involved parties, the RCMP never enforced the injunction.

On Friday, the injunction was extended. A single lane of Route 134 was subsequently reopened.

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