Judge set to rule on limits for native protest at Muskrat Falls site

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ST. JOHN'S, N.L. - A judge will rule Wednesday on the extent to which native protesters will be allowed to picket near a construction site for the Muskrat Falls megaproject in Labrador.

Lawyers for the NunatuKavut (noon-ah-TOO-ha-voot) Community Council argued in Supreme Court in St. John's Tuesday that a court order last week barring the protesters from the site was too broad.

They also said that related matters should be heard by a judge in Goose Bay but the earliest available court date is in three weeks.

In the meantime, provincial Crown corporation Nalcor Energy has offered to create a "safety zone" at its own expense where protesters could picket near the site but not approach vehicles.

Lawyers for the native group representing the southern Inuit-Metis of Labrador say protesters should be able to hand out brochures and discuss their cause.

The group is trying to get a land deal with Ottawa and says the province is excluding it from Muskrat Falls benefits while blocking it from traditional territory.

The council has protested several times in recent weeks against the proposed hydro development.

Construction of a road and camp site has started in case the province approves the project as expected at a cost of more than $6.2 billion.

Organizations: NunatuKavut, Community Council, Supreme Court Nalcor Energy

Geographic location: ST. JOHN'S, Labrador, Goose Bay Ottawa

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