Update On Fracking Conflict With First Nations In Canada
Mi’kmaq anti-fracking update: Two warriors released on bail, four others remain in jail
Bail hearings for 3 others continue; 1 denied bail Thursday
Two of six protesters who were held in custody following the shale-gas protest confrontation near Rexton, N.B., last week have been released on bail.
Jason Augustine and David Mazerolle were released on a number of conditions and will be back in court next month to enter a plea. The pair face various charges, including mischief, unlawful confinement, escaping lawful custody, obstructing a peace officer and assaulting a peace officer.
Thursday another protester, Coady Stevens, was denied bail. He remains in custody and is to enter a plea on November 1.
The six men — Stevens, Augustine, Mazerolle, Aaron Francis, Germain Junior Breau, and James Sylvester Pictou — face 37 charges in all.
Bail hearings are continuing for the other three jailed protesters. They’ve been in custody since their arrest eight days ago.
The six were among 40 people arrested when RCMP broke up a weeks-long protest against shale gas exploration on Route 134 in Rexton. The protesters were preventing SWN from accessing seismic-testing vehicles and equipment in its compound in the area. The exploration company had obtained a court injunction ordering that it be allowed access to its vehicles and be allowed to carry out exploration work without harassment.
‘No means no’
After being released, Augustine hugged his wife and mother outside the Moncton Law Courts.
“It’s good to be out,” he said. “It’s not good to see my bros that are still in there be incarcerated for something that we believe is right to save.”
Augustine said he and his fellow warriors were arrested trying to save the province from the dangers of shale gas development.
“We are there for our Mother Earth. We’re not there to uphold politics. Politics this, politics that. No way. Just say no, and no means no.”
Aboriginal leaders have not said they are absolutely against shale gas development, however.
“They’re not saying no to all resource development,” Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo said during a visit to Elsipogtog First Nation on Thursday. “Just saying not yes at all costs.”
Meanwhile, Elispogtog Chief Aaron Sock said the issue of resource development should be dealt with after going to court to deal with aboriginal land claims.
Augustine said his opinion hasn’t changed.
“Shawn Atleo and Aaron Sock have to understand — this is a Mi’kmaq territory land. You can’t destroy our Mi’kmaq territory land, no matter how much people are trying.”