For over two weeks now, a coalition of people including local Mi’kmaq residents, and anglophone and Acadian settlers, have blockaded the road leading to an equipment compound leased to South Western Energy or SWN.
SWN is a Texas based energy company, that has been attempting to conduct natural gas exploration in the area’s shale formations. It is believed that if significant deposits of gas are found, SWN would then employ the controversial extraction method of hydraulic fracturing or fracking. But since this past summer, protests, direct actions and sabotage have thwarted their work, and have turned public opinion on the side of the protesters.
Throughout the summer, police arrested dozens of people conducting non-violent civil disobedience. But since the arrival of members of the Mi’kmaq warrior society, the police have not been as keen to come near protesters.
The blockade is preventing SWN from operating thumper trucks, massive vehicles that gather seismic data to determine the location of natural gas.
During my short stay here I’ve witnessed the co-operation between natives and settlers, a partnership that has kept this blockade fully stocked and operational. Food, wood, hot coffee, tents and other supplies keep streaming all the while SWN berates the police in the media for not arresting the protesters.
In two days time, several people named in a court injuction are due to appear before a judge. In the meantime supporters keep arriving, but the warriors have also issued a callout for further support.