MONCLON, NEW BRUNSWICK — Three members of the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society, held in custody since the day of the violent raid by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) officers on a peaceful anti-shale gas encampment on October 17, pleaded not guilty in the New Brunswick Provincial Courthouse on Friday November 8, 2013.
Aaron Francis, Germaine “Junior” Breau and Coady Stevens have now been held in custody for the past three weeks. They are currently incarcerated at the Southeastern Correctional Centre, with no date for trial set at this time.
“We would like to see them get their trial dates as quickly as possible, as they have been remanded without a trial,” said Alison Menard, the lawyer who is representing the three Warriors told the court Friday.
The three young men have been refused access to phones and visits, and some have even been assaulted by corrections officers in custody.
“I know these men are not guilty of the charges being laid here by the Crown.” states Annie Clair, who is Junior’s mother and was also present the day of the raid, “They are peaceful men with good hearts. Thanks to everyone who has continued to give us the support we’ve needed.”
The courtroom was packed on Friday with supporters from Elsipogtog, surrounding Mi’kmaq communities, and non-native supporters from Moncton and elsewhere.
“I am happy they have entered their plea of Not Guilty and I am saddened that they are still locked up for protecting our women and elders who were for fighting for our water and land,” commented Susan Levi-Peters, former chief of Elsipogtog.
“Our warriors should be free, not locked up. We are not the savages”, states Levi-Peters in reference to RCMP treatment of Mi’kmaq people on the morning of the police raid, where police used sniper teams, and brought in officers from multiple provinces to enforce an injunction on the anti-shale gas encampment.
“As the trial begins, we will find out why the RCMP ambushed our people in the early hours of the morning when they had offered tobacco in Peace and Friendship the night before,” continued Levi-Peters talking about the how the RCMP have violated an agreement of Peace and Friendship made with the Mi’kmaq people only hours before.
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