A protest over shale gas exploration in New Brunswick turned violent Thursday as RCMP officers trying to enforce an injunction clashed with protesters in Rexton. The RCMP says at least 40 people have been arrested for various offences.

 

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Police closed down Route 134 in Rexton and Route 11 between Richibucto and Ste-Anne-de-Kent early Thursday.

The CBC reports that the confrontation escalated around midday, when several male protesters tried to push their way through a police line and officers fired pepper spray at the group. Meanwhile, schools in the Rexton area were on lockdown as a precaution. The Anglophone North School District informed parents that they would be busing students home early.

According to the RCMP, protestors threw Molotov cocktails and at least five police cruisers were destroyed by fire.