Mood sombre at protest camp after SWN order granted

A day after a New Brunswick judge ordered anti-shale gas protesters not to interfere in seismic testing conducted by SWN Resources Canada, some remained at a camp near Laketon, N.B.

Protesters vow to forge on, but unclear what will happen next

It was quiet on Saturday at an anti-shale gas protest camp near Laketon, N.B., one day after a New Brunswick judge ordered protesters not to interfere with seismic work being done by SWN Resources Canada.

Protesters say they’re not surprised by the decision of Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Judy Clendening to rule in favour of SWN and grant the injunction.

Even with a victory in court, SWN trucks remained parked Saturday afternoon in an industrial park in Moncton and by late afternoon had not moved out to Highway 11 where testing is taking place.

The mood was sombre at the protest camp Saturday and protesters said many have left to rest and gather supplies. One woman said the injunction won’t stop the protests, but "we have rules now."

Protester O’Nile Gallant said he’s not sure what will happen next, but maintains they won’t give up.

"We're going to keep our distance," he said. "We're not lawbreakers. But there's a fine line there, there's a fine line.

"We can go make our presence felt without jumping in front of the trucks themselves."

On Friday, Clendening ordered protesters keep 250 metres away from SWN Resources Canada trucks, and 20 metres from the side of the road where the company is doing work.

The injunction is in place until Dec. 2.


It is the latest legal decision in a series of court actions surrounding SWN's seismic testing. Earlier this week, Elsipogtog First Nation lost its bid to have the court order a stop to SWN's work.

Things boiled over Oct. 17 when protesters clashed with RCMP near Rexton, N.B. Police had moved in to enforce another court order.

In court, SWN has said its vehicles have been damaged, equipment vandalized, and that it loses more than $50,000 each day it can’t do work.

It says 1,000 recording stations used in seismic testing have been destroyed.

More than 300 batteries and boxes have been removed from its planned line of exploration in Kent County and thrown into trees, the company says.

The province has sided with SWN in court.

There are critics of the latest court order, however, including one protester who on Friday night called it "draconian."