More than 200 Montrealers took to the streets last night to voice their support for First Nations protesters in New Brunswick who clashed with police yesterday.
Marchers condemned the use of force by RCMP officers against members of the Elsipogtog First Nation who had blockaded a road leading to a shale gas fracking operation near Rexton, N.B.
Police moved in yesterday to enforce a court injunction against the blockade and hostilities quickly escalated after officers used pepper spray to quell protesters pushing against their line.
The ensuing clash saw five police cars burned and police use “sock rounds” — also known as bean bag rounds, which are a type of non-lethal ammunition — on two occasions during the clash in an attempt to defuse the situation.
More than 40 protesters were arrested for various offences including firearms offences, uttering threats, intimidation, mischief and for refusing to abide by a court injunction.
In Montreal, protesters angered by the arrests in New Brunswick gathered in front of the RCMP headquarters.
Another group set a fire near the Mercier Bridge.
“It was really excessive force,” said Archelle Dénommé, who participated in last night’s solidarity march in Montreal.
There were no arrests in Montreal.
Demonstrators promised more actions in Montreal and across Canada in response to the situation in New Brunswick.
Another protest is planned in Montreal tonight.