Anonymous has joined the protests against fracking in the Canadian province of New Brunswick.
The hacktivist collective launched #OpFrackOff on Friday in response to the use of racial language by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and a significant escalation into violence that started last week. According to witnesses, including at least one journalist, a camouflage-clad police officer yelled, “Crown land belongs to the government not to fucking Natives.”
The protests against fracking, hydraulic fracturing used to harvest natural gas, which have been going on since the summer, are led by residents of the Mi’kmaq First Nation.
“Anonymous has launched #OpFrackOff,” declares a Pastebin document released Friday, “a tiny new operation in support of courageous indigenous women-at-the-front, drummers, elders, warriors, and children on the barricades in #Elsipogtog.”
The Mi’kmaq believe their land and water are being compromised by this highly contested method of mining.
Anonymous is targeting Texas company SWN Resources Canada, the group pursuing the extractions. The Mi’kmaq protesters have been gathering for the past week at what they are calling the Mi’kmaq Warrior Encampment, which consists of a trailer and about a dozen tents, according to the Halifax Media Coop.
About 60 camo-wearing special forces police were on site, some of whom have allegedly fired bean bag rounds at chanting, drumming protesters and arrested others. Someone on the protesters’ side, however, apparently also threw half a dozen Molotov cocktails in the direction of the police lines.
Anonymous has threatened to reveal the name of the officer who allegedly made the racist statement if he is not fired.
An RCMP representative told the Global Post that their officers faced “extremely high risk” from the protesters, whose camp was armed (it is worth noting that the lands of the Mi’kmaq are rural, where many residents hunt on a regular basis), had improvised explosive devices, and that SWN private security moved out of the area after death threats.