Sup­port for in­mates

Protesters in St. John’s prison want foren­sic au­dit of Muskrat Falls

The Western Star - - Front Page - BY ASH­LEY FITZ­PATRICK SALTWIRE NET­WORK

At one point, there were three quick honks from a recre­ational ve­hi­cle mov­ing slowly past the en­trance to Her Majesty’s Pen­i­ten­tiary early Mon­day af­ter­noon — one honk for each of the Labrador Land Pro­tec­tors be­ing held in­side.

Sup­port­ers of the trio gath­ered in a line out­side the prison, hold­ing signs and speak­ing to passersby. It was not the first day and the half-dozen on site at this point were glad for the show of sup­port from the RV driver, even be­fore he leaned out his win­dow.

“Get ’em out,” he said, echo­ing the protesters’ own state­ments to re­porters. “Get ’em out of there.”

Whether or not the in­mates could hear the RV or the honk­ing from other pass­ing driv­ers, signs of sup­port for James Learn­ing, Mar­jorie Flow­ers and El­dred Davis went on for hours. They are ex­pected to go on again Tues­day, and un­til the three de­tained in­di­vid­u­als are re­turned home.

The two men, Nu­natuKavut elders, and Flow­ers were taken into cus­tody on Fri­day in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay. Jus­tice Ge­orge Mur­phy or­dered them de­tained af­ter they re­fused to sign an in­junc­tion spec­i­fy­ing they would not in­ter­fere at the work­site of the on­go­ing Muskrat Falls hy­dro­elec­tric project.

They were flown more than 800 kilo­me­tres from their homes. They are ex­pected to be back in Happy Val­ley-Goose Bay a week from now, when their case is called in pro­vin­cial court.

An Inuk woman named Beatrice Hunter spent 10 days in

cus­tody at HMP ear­lier this year, when she re­fused to make a sim­i­lar

agree­ment with the court. She was re­leased only af­ter agree­ing to not go within a kilo­me­tre of the project work­sites.

Jodi Green­leaves, orig­i­nally from Cartwright, stood out­side HMP when Hunter was in­car­cer­ated there. She said Mon­day she was up­set to have to be back.

Green­leaves vis­ited the night be­fore with Flow­ers, who is her fa­ther’s part­ner. She said she hopes to be able to visit with her again Tues­day evening.

“She was in good spir­its and we kind of laughed and joked around about a few things,” she said.

While up­beat, she said, Flow­ers un­der­stands why she is im­pris­oned. Green­leaves said Flow­ers, Learn­ing and Davis all made a con­scious choice to refuse to agree to the court’s con­di­tions, to call at­ten­tion to the Land Pro­tec­tors’ call for ac­tion. The protesters want a foren­sic au­dit of pro­vin­cial Crown cor­po­ra­tion Nal­cor En­ergy and the Muskrat Falls project, progress on the methylmer­cury is­sue and a full re­view of en­gi­neer­ing re­lated to the sta­bil­ity of the part of the dam site known as the North Spur.

Green­leaves hadn’t spo­ken with ei­ther Learn­ing or Davis, but was hope­ful to be able to see them in the com­ing days.

Michael Collins was also in front of HMP in sup­port of the trio.

“When I first heard about this, I couldn’t be­lieve it,” he said, de­scrib­ing him­self as a Land Pro­tec­tors sup­porter.

Collins said there should be more ef­fort to lis­ten to the voices of in­di­vid­u­als, as op­posed to cor­po­ra­tions — a clear prob­lem with this project, he sug­gested.

Nu­natuKavut Pres­i­dent Todd Rus­sell said he does not agree with the de­tain­ments of Nu­natuKavut Com­mu­nity Coun­cil mem­bers at HMP, or gen­er­ally within the prison sys­tem. He said there must be another way found to ad­dress the is­sues be­ing raised.

ASHLEY FITZPATRIC­K/ SALTWIRE NET­WORK

A group in­clud­ing self-de­scribed Labrador Land Pro­tec­tors and sup­port­ers re­mained out­side of Her Majesty’s Pen­i­ten­tiary in St. John’s on Mon­day. The Tele­gram was told the plan is to have some kind of pres­ence at the lo­ca­tion each day, be­gin­ning around...

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