Dec 6 1:00 PM

6 things you need to know about the Idle No More movement

Jason Franson/The Canadian Press/AP Images

Tonight, Friday, December 6th, at 9:30p EST, our new Fault Lines episode “Elsipogtog: The Fire Over Water” airs on Al Jazeera America. 

Fault Lines travels to Mi’kmaq territory in New Brunswick, Canada to find out what happens when a First Nation says no to fracking.

We will have more from the episode throughout the day and in the coming week as it repeats on Al Jazeera America on December 7, 2013, 5:30p ET, and premieres on Al Jazeera English on December 11, 2013.

 Join us as we livetweet this episode tonight from our main Twitter account, @ajfaultlines

"Canada's indigenous movement gains momentum: Are the country's First Nations groups being denied their rights and being targeted by the government?", Al Jazeera English, Inside Story Americas, January 20, 2013.

"Canada's Idle No More movement began as a small social media campaign - armed with little more than a hashtag and a cause.

But it has grown into a large indigenous movement, with protests and ceremonial gatherings held almost daily in many of the country's major cities..."

"Spence and other First Nations groups are demanding better living conditions for Canada's aboriginals, and they are angry at the country's government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which they accuse of trying to erode their land and sovereignty rights..."

"Activist group Idle No More gets busy again in Canada," Benjamin Shingler for Al Jazeera America, October 6, 2013.

"In the past few weeks, First Nations groups in Canada have set up a blockade to stop shale-gas exploration in New Brunswick, marched outside the Ontario premier's house to protest high mercury levels and forced a coal-mining company in British Columbia to delay exploratory drilling.

The protests are part of a growing First Nations activism that took root in Canada last winter with the powerful movement known as Idle No More. The mass protests, which drew thousands to snow-lined streets across the country, have gone quiet in recent months, but activists insist the fight is far from over.

On Monday they will try to take that message to the wider public, with 50 events planned across Canada and the United States, along with an estimated 10 other countires, including England and India. That day marks the 250th anniversary of the British Royal Proclamation, which led to the founding of Canada."

"First Nations clash with police at anti-fracking protest," The Stream Team for Al Jazeera America, October 17, 2013.

An anti-fracking protest by hundreds of indigenous Canadians turned violent on Thursday when police came to break up the action. Members of the Elsipogtog and Mi'kmaq First Nations tribes blocked a highway in the province of New Brunswick to stop shale gas company SWN Resources from continuing development in the area. Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested at least 40 protesters and attempted to disperse the group with dogs, pepper spray, fire hoses, tear gas, rubber bullets, and snipers. Protesters responded by torching cars and throwing Molotov cocktails.

This latest incident reflects the ongoing tension between energy companies and indigenous peoples in Canada. Many used the hashtags #Elsipogtog, #Miqmakblockade, #IdleNoMore and #cdnpoli to share information about the protest.

"Fires still burn after shale gas protests in New Brunswick", Benjamin Shingler for Al Jazeera America, October 18, 2013.

"A day after an anti-fracking protest here turned violent, with 40 people arrested and torched police cars sending clouds of black smoke into the air, aboriginal protesters huddled around a fire pit at the site of their anti-fracking encampment, sipping coffee and discussing their next move. A tense calm hung in the air while, down the road, local high school students gawked at the row of burnt-out vehicles towed to a vacant lot.

Canada's national police force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, charged into the area early Thursday, hoping to break up a weekslong protest where demonstrators blocked the roads, denying SWN Resources Canada, a Texas-based shale gas company, the chance to retrieve its testing equipment from a storage compound.

Of the people arrested, nine are expected to spend the weekend in jail. Police used pepper-spray and rubber bullets to enforce the court-ordered injunction, according to protesters, while officers seized a number of weapons, including guns, explosive devices and knives.

The conflict, whose dramatic images spread quickly through social media, has heightened tensions between New Brunswick's First Nations and the provincial government, and thrust the debate over the environmental impact of shale gas exploration back into the spotlight.

"Shale gas company loses bid to halt Canada protests," Renee Lewis for Al Jazeera America, October 21, 2013.

A Canadian court ruled Monday to deny an energy company’s request for a permanent injunction to prevent interference with shale-gas exploration in New Brunswick. The ruling allows protests to continue and for demonstrators to once again occupy roads used by energy-company vehicles...

An informal coalition of First Nations and nonnative protesters had blocked a road to prevent the company from continuing its exploration. The judge did not state the reasons for his decision but said a written statement would be issued.

SWN Resources, which did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment, argued in court that the protest was costing the company $60,000 a day.

The barricade and protests, part of a wider movement by dozens of local community groups that have opposed fracking there for years, began last month on Route 134 near Rexton, about 515 miles east of Montreal.

"Indigenous Canadian fracking protesters refuse to back down," Andrea Schmidt for Al Jazeera America, December 2, 2013.

"Anti-fracking demonstrators set tires ablaze to block a New Brunswick highway Monday in a fiery response to a judge’s decision to extend an injunction limiting their protests against a Texas-based shale gas exploration company.

In a courtroom in Fredericton, the capital of New Brunswick, Judge Paulette Garnett ruled to continue through Dec. 17 the injunction obtained by SWN Resources Canada against a coalition of protesters led by Mi’kmaq indigenous people from the Elsipogtog First Nation.

The injunction, which SWN obtained on Nov. 22, is designed to keep protesters from interfering with SWN’s seismic testing work. It requires that demonstrators remain at least 250 yards in front of or behind contractors and their vehicles and 20 yards to the side..."

"But the injunction has not deterred the anti-fracking alliance of indigenous people and members of New Brunswick’s Acadian and anglophone communities, a grouping that has consolidated since Elsipogtog residents began trying to stop SWN’s exploration work last May. Over the past week there have been daily confrontations with police, as protesters — who prefer to be known as protectors of the land and water — have persisted in their efforts to slow the seismic-testing operation.

This isn’t just a native issue,” Edgar Clair of Elsipogtog First Nation told Al Jazeera from the site of the blockade on Route 11. “But the natives want the world to know that this is Mi’kmaq territory, and they won’t back down, and they won’t abide by this injunction...”


Read the full stories

Activist group Idle No More gets busy again in Canada

Indigenous tribes of Canada plan day of protest for Monday, vow they're just getting started

Race & Ethnicity
Law & Justice
Human Rights

Canada shale gas protest turns violent

Enforcing court injunction, police arrest activists and aboriginals protesting local fracking initiatives

Race & Ethnicity

First Nations clash with police at anti-fracking protest

Indigenous Canadians protesting fracking met with snipers, hoses, pepper spray, and arrests.


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