Police partially reopen road blocked by shale gas protest
Protestors had to take blockade down to allow ambulance by after protestor injured
Police near Rexton, N.B. say Highway 134 reopened to traffic around 9 a.m. on Saturday.
The road had been closed since Sept. 30 due to a protest camp trying to block the exploration for shale gas.
The transportation department set up pylons for a single lane of traffic while police conduct traffic control at the site.
There are still dozens of protesters at the site who seem divided that the road has reopened. Some say it’s good that motorists are able to see how peacefully the protesters are conducting themselves. Other protesters say they feel that opening the road has cost them leverage over the shale gas company, SWN Resources Canada.
The trees blocking the provincial road were removed Friday with the assistance of equipment from the Department of Transportation.
The protesters said the change in approach was prompted by an incident Wednesday when a protester was burned in a campfire and the ambulance had difficulty accessing the area.
RCMP Const. Julie Rogers-Marsh, said although there is a civil injunction that would allow them to remove the protesters who block SWN employees from doing their work, police have been taking a "measured" approach.
“Does it give us the authority to go in and remove people? Yes, but it doesn't say we must or we have to. There’s no time line with that at all,” she said.
Rogers-Marsh said the RCMP remains at the site monitoring the situation and directing traffic.