Sections

Three demonstrators are arrested over Muskrat Falls injunction in Happy Valley-Goose Bay


Published on July 22, 2017

Members of the Labrador Land Protectors held a vigil outside the RCMP station in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on July 21 for three of their members who were arrested that day.

©Courtesy of Labrador Land Protectors

Three members of the Labrador Land Protectors were jailed on Friday (July 21) for refusing to sign an injunction to not interfere with the Muskrat Falls worksite.

Marjorie Flowers was one of three people arrested in Happy Valley-Goose Bay provincial court for refusing to sign an injunction to not interfere with the Muskrat Falls project. She enjoyed a few moments of sunshine before heading into court to tell the judge she would not sign the order.
Courtesy of Labrador Land Protectors

'James Learning, Marjorie Flowers and Eldred Davis were all taken into custody in Happy Valley-Goose Bay provincial court after Justice George Murphy ordered them detained.

Murphy told the court that the matter had gone on long enough and told the sheriffs to arrest anyone reportedly violating his injunction.

Jacinda Beals has also been charged with violating the injunction and said she is heartbroken and disappointed with the justice system.

“We have three very kind and caring people behind bars for standing up against Nalcor,” she said. “When Mud Lake flooded we became desperate to stop them. Jim, Eldred and Marjorie are not just standing up for themselves, but all Labradorians. They know in their hearts that Labradorians deserve much better than this. Judge Murphy says he has no choice but Labradorians are fighting for our lives. We have no choice either.”

Learning, 79, reportedly has health issues and other members of LLP said they are concerned for his, and the others’ welfare.

Eldred Davis was arrested for refusing to sign an undertaking to stay away from the Muskrat Falls work site. Davis, a councillor with the Nunatukavut Community Council, was taken into custody immediately after.
Courtesy of Labrador Land Protectors

“I am very concerned for Jim’s health and well-being, and his safety,” said Kirk Lethbridge, LLP member. “I am concerned for his care and security. We are concerned for all of our people arrested, for all their safety, but Jim is close to 80 years old and has cancer and this is a heart-wrenching time for us all. It is a painful time but oppression has silenced people for so long, it sometimes takes real leaders to make real change, and our leaders we see, are not the elected, but the front line protectors like Jim. Marj and Eldred.”

Learning is a well-known Inuit Elder and was arrested in 2013 at a Muskrat Falls protest. At that time, he went on a six-day hunger strike and Denise Cole, a spokesperson for LLP, said he might go on a hunger strike again.

“I can’t confirm for certain but from everything Jim said beforehand and what we know he may take that action,” she said. “He told the judge he knew he was going to be arrested and the only thing he could do was give his life.”

Cole said the three was arrested for standing up for their beliefs and that the environment in the courtroom at the time was “frightening.”

“He (Murphy) brought the sheriffs in and told them to arrest anyone that violated his injunction,” she said. “It was like he was reprimanding them. He told them if they didn’t have the resources that he could contact the Attorney General (Justice Minister Andrew Parsons) and have the RCMP provide them support.”

Cole said Flowers' family told them she was moved to Her Majesty's Penitentiary that same night and they are working on confirming the location of the two others.

Beatrice Hunter spent more than a week in custody at HMP when she refused to sign the same order as Learning and Flowers and she told The Labradorian it is very upsetting and heartbreaking to hear about them heading to jail.

“My people are frustrated and tired of not being heard, this is why they're standing in defiance,” she said. “This is our homeland. Wouldn't you do the same?”

Hunter said she isn’t worried about them because she already knows how strong the three are and they have only confirmed their commitment to keep fighting.

The injunction was put in place last fall when demonstrations at the Muskrat Falls site escalated over concerns about the North Spur dam and potential methylmercury contamination resulting from the project.