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Shale gas protesters regroup following arrests

Police in New Brunswick arrested 12 people who were protesting against shale gas exploration in the Harcourt area, north of Moncton, on Friday. Brion Robinson/Global News

HARCOURT, N.B. – Opponents of shale gas exploration in Kent County, N.B. are looking forward to continuing their protest, following the arrests of  several demonstrators on Friday.

Protesters have been rallying for support along New Brunswick’s Highway 126, near Harcourt, since Wednesday, by taking part in a native sacred fire ceremony.

“We believe the fire helps and protects us  and we lit it for four days as was told to us by our ancestors,” said Amy Sock — a “warrior” from Elsipogtog First Nation.

“One of our weapons is our sacred fire,” she said

Oil and natural gas company SWN Resources has permission to explore Kent County for shale gas deposits and has been using seismic testing trucks along Highway 126.

But, protests and native ceremonies have stopped them several times.

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Things came to a head on Friday, when police arrested 12 people and charged them with mischief.

WATCH: Shale gas protesters arrested

RCMP have since released all of them from custody.

The protesters say the sacred fire ceremony has helped their movement and support is growing.

“I believe its been a success because even with all the bad stuff that’s been happening, I believe it’s good. It’s bringing more support,” protester Jonathan Augustine said.

“People are still not aware of what this industry can do to a region,” added fellow protester Patricia Leger.

WATCH: The economics of shale gas

According to Sock, First Nations leaders have reached a deal with the province and SWN Resources.

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But, she says SWN will not be working for the next four days.

“This four day cooling off period is exactly what we need to get ready for the fifth day,” Sock said.

Demonstrators told Global News SWN Resources has moved its equipment away from the site.

“With their security trucks and thumper trucks ,we seen them heading towards Moncton this morning,” protester Rosa Gallant said.

SWN Resources could not be reached for confirmation.

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