'Battle Won, War Continues': Court Affirms First Nation's Right to Protest Fracking

Members of the Elsipogtog First Nation are declaring a people’s victory after a Canadian judge on Monday overruled an energy company’s push for a permanent injunction on protests against fracking exploration in New Brunswick.

Despite last week’s violent police crackdown on their fracking blockade, the group is celebrating the ruling and vowing to continue their mobilization against shale oil exploration in their territories.

“There is a little progress. We won the battle yesterday when the court overturned the injunction against us,” said John Levi, Warrior Chief of Elsipogtog, in an interview with Common Dreams. “But the war is not over. We are going to continue, be out there, wait for them, and look for them. We don’t want fracking in our territories.”

Justice George Rideout issued the ruling Monday, according to The First Perspective, as members of the Elsipogtog and other fracking opponents sang and drummed in the Court of Queen’s Bench courtroom and nearby hallway.

Part of a nation-wide movement against fracking, Elsipogtog First Nation members and local residents had blockaded a road near the town of Rexton in rural New Brunswick since September 30, putting their bodies in the way of the company’s fracking exploration efforts that are racing forward on their lands without their consent. After pressure from SWN Resources Canada, a subsidiary of the Houston-based Southwestern Energy Co, the government imposed a temporary injunction October 3 and ordered the protesters to disband.