New Brunswick

Rexton shale gas protests remembered on one-year anniversary

It was one year ago Friday in Rexton, New Brunswick that protests against shale gas turned violent when police moved in on the crowd of with non-lethal rounds and pepper spray.

By the end of the protest, six RCMP vehicles were burned and 40 people arrested

Anti-shale gas protesters dancing around a tire fire on Highway 11 near Rexton one year ago. (Twitter)

It was one year ago Friday in Rexton, New Brunswick that protests against shale gas turned violent when police moved in on the crowd with non-lethal rounds and pepper spray.

When it was all over, six RCMP vehicles were burned and 40 people arrested. On the anniversary, supporters gathered at the site where it happened.

Crystal Cookson remembers exactly where she was a year ago.

“This time last year, to be technically correct, I was sitting in a Moncton jail,” she said.

Cookson said the day is still vivid in her memory.

“Police had come in at 7:20 in the morning. It was overkill on so many levels you know, and I'm just really grateful nobody died that day, really,” she said.

Cookson says even after the arrests, she lived at the camp through the fall and winter, only leaving last spring. She said this time she’s back to heal.

It was a very dramatic day and you know to see hundreds and hundreds of police officers from all across Canada.- Crystal Cookson

"It was a very dramatic day and you know to see hundreds and hundreds of police officers from all across Canada pretty well,” she remembered.

At Friday’s service, a sacred fire was lit, honour songs were sung, and people gathered at the community hall in Elsipogtog.

Nancy Alcox is a shale gas protester from Bass River who said she came to show her appreciation to the protesters who stood up for what they believed in.

“Respecting the day and what people were put through, putting themselves on the front line,” she said.

RCMP said explosive devices, firearms, knives and ammunition were seized that day. The 21 people charged with criminal offences one year ago, are still before the courts.

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