An anti-fracking protest in Rexton, New Brunswick, turned violent Thursday after Royal Canadian Mounted Police peppered protesters with rubber bullets and demonstrators torched cop cars.
Elsipogtog Mi’kmaq First Nation members have been blocking workers’ access to their trucks where SWN Resources Canada is testing for shale gas, the Toronto Sun reported. Police were called in to enforce an Oct. 3 court injunction against the standoff.
A moratorium on fracking was recently lifted by the provincial government, and natives are concerned the process could damage the environment and contaminate their drinking water.
Royal Canadian Mounted Police said more than 40 protesters were arrested on several charges, including possession of firearms, threatening language, intimidation, mischief and refusing to abide by a court injunction, CBC News reported.
The RCMP said at least one shot was fired by someone other than police and Molotov cocktails have been thrown at police.
“The RCMP has worked diligently with all parties involved in hopes for a peaceful resolution. Those efforts have not been successful. Tensions were rising, and serious criminal acts are being committed,” said Royal Canadian Mounted Police Constable Jullie Rogers-Marsh in a news release.
An attorney for the Elsipogtog First Nation confirmed Chief Arren Sock is one of those arrested in the clash, CBC News reported.