Canadian police have arrested dozens of people after a protest at a shale gas development in the Canadian province of New Brunswick turned violent.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police claimed on Thursday that the arrests were made for firearms violations, threats and intimidation near the town of Rexton.
Protesters have blockaded a staging area where an energy firm stores its equipment since September 30.
Violence erupted as officers moved in to enforce a court injunction won by the company to remove the protesters’ highway camp, said police.
SWN Resources, owned by Houston-based Southwestern Energy, is exploring the coastal province for shale gas.
The reserves are removed from the ground by a controversial practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.
Opponents of the shale gas sector say drinking water can be polluted during this extraction process.
The protesters, including regional First Nations, want SWN’s seismic testing to stop.
Among those arrested on Thursday were members of the Elsipogtog First Nation, including their Chief, Arren Sock, Canadian media reported.
A councillor from the Elsipogtog First Nation told the Canadian Press news agency that police had used pepper spray on the protesters.
“They sprayed the crowd that was there,” Robert Levi said. “The chief was manhandled a little bit and all hell broke loose.”
He added the protesters would try to stay, despite the injunction.