Anti-fracking protesters threaten reporter, seize news vehicle and camera
Howard Alexander - News Editor
A police vehicle is seen in Rexton, N.B. as police began enforcing an injunction to end an ongoing demonstration against shale gas exploration in eastern New Brunswick on Thursday, Oct.17, 2013. Police say at least five RCMP vehicles were destroyed after they were set ablaze and at least one shot was fired by someone other than a police officer at the site of the protest in Rexton.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
October 19, 2013 - 12:16 PM
REXTON, N.B. — A reporter for Global News in New Brunswick was threatened and a news vehicle and camera were seized by five protesters in Rexton, N.B., Saturday.
Laura Brown was at the site of an ongoing shale gas protest around noon when the protesters confronted another media outlet and seized a vehicle.
Global News news director Jim Haskins said Brown got into her vehicle and locked the door, but was threatened by the protesters.
“They knocked on the window and demanded that she get out of the vehicle and leave it,” said Haskins. “At first she refused, but the situation she felt was unsafe and unstable so reluctantly she locked the vehicle, left and started walking away.
Brown was safe at an RCMP detachment later Saturday afternoon and was giving a statement to police.
The RCMP could not immediately be reached for comment.
Haskins, who is based in Halifax, said he was getting mixed messages from the scene about whether the vehicle would be returned.
“We’re hopeful that we will have our property returned to us promptly, but at this point in time, I can’t tell you when or if that’s going to happen.”
The protest turned violent on Thursday, when six police vehicles including an unmarked van were burned and Molotov cocktails were tossed at police before they fired non-lethal beanbag type bullets and pepper spray to defuse the situation.
RCMP found improvised explosive devices that were modified to discharge shrapnel and used a fuse-ignition system. Officers also seized guns and knives after moving in to enforce a court-ordered injunction to remove protesters at the site of a compound in Rexton where SWN Resources stored exploration equipment.
Forty people were arrested for firearms offences, threats, intimidation, mischief and violating the injunction.
The protesters, some of whom were members of the Elsipogtog First Nation, were demonstrating for weeks against the development of a shale gas sector in the province.
Elsipogtog Chief Arren Sock, who was among those arrested, met with New Brunswick Premier David Alward on Friday and said they would meet again to discuss ways of preventing what happened Thursday.
The RCMP blocked Route 134 on Sept. 29 after a protest there began spilling onto the road. Protesters subsequently cut down trees that were placed across another part of the road, blocking the entrance to the compound.
The protesters want SWN Resources to stop seismic testing and leave the province.
SWN Resources issued a statement Friday saying it is in the early stages of exploration in New Brunswick.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2013