A native-led protest over shale gas fracking came to a head Thursday on a blocked highway in Rexton, New Brunswick.


Scores of RCMP officers arrived early in the day to enforce a court injunction on the protesters, resulting in a violent clash that ended with 40 people arrested, including Elsipogtog Chief Aaron Sock and several council members.

The Mi'kmaq band has been blockading Route 134 near Rexton for the past 2 ½ weeks in opposition to shale gas exploration in the area.

RCMP reportedly used pepper spray and hoses on some people who tried to break a police line set up across the road. Police say some protesters threw Molotov cocktails and at least five RCMP vehicles were destroyed by fire.  There were no serious injuries reported. The CBC reports that the majority of police at the scene left around 7 last evening to cheers from the remaining protesters.


Elsipogtog Chief Aaron Sock is expected to meet Friday with New Brunswick Premier David Alward in Fredericton to try to come to an understanding in the dispute.