(Protectors of the Land were back in force at the Muskrat Falls construction site Monday. Photo: Trina Roache/APTN)
Trina Roache and Jorge Barrera
APTN National News
MUSKRAT FALLS, Labrador—A Newfoundland and Labrador judge has ordered a journalist to appear before the court for a contempt hearing in connection with the ongoing occupation and protest of Muskrat Falls.
The subpoena order was issued Monday against 22 people, including Justin Brake, a journalist with online news agency The Independent, who are currently occupying the Muskrat Falls construction offices of Nalcor, the Crown corporation behind the massive hydro-electric project.
The order also contains wording to include any other individuals involved in the ongoing occupation. There are about 30 people involved in the occupation.
See Related Stories Here: Muskrat Falls
Justice George Murphy issued the subpoena ordering the Sheriff to serve the subpoenas no later than Nov. 10. Murphy wants the individuals to appear before the court for a contempt hearing on why they violated the Oct. 16 injunction against occupying the Muskrat Falls construction area.
The order also allows the Sheriff to arrest and detain the named individuals until their court appearances.
Roy Blake, one of the demonstrators, said the RCMP want to enter the site to serve the subpoenas.
News of the court order surfaces as tensions continue to rise at the Muskrat Falls site.
“I can feel the mood change since yesterday,” said Gary Gear, who was involved in the occupation for two days and is now at the protest camp outside the Muskrat Falls construction area. “Desperate times calls for desperate measures.”
Gear said the court order is setting the stage for the end game.
“It means they’re just going to go ahead and flood,” said Gear. “And do whatever they want.”
Seven buses entered the construction site Wednesday to pick up workers on the Muskrat Falls job site. The buses were searched by demonstrators before they entered the site to avoid a “Trojan Horse” operation by the RCMP.
The demonstrations were sparked by Nalcor’s plan to flood a wide swath of area as part of the Muskrat Falls construction without first clearing the zone of topsoil and vegetation. A study by Harvard University recently warned flooding of the vegetation would release methylmercury which would poison the fish and the land.
The Labrador Innu and Inuit depend on fish and wildlife for food and for their cultural traditions.
Three Inuit from Labrador, Billy Gauthier, Delilah Saunders and Jerry Kohlmeister, are currently in the midst of a hunger strike to force Nalcor to commit to clearing out the vegetation before it floods the area completely.
The three on Wednesday issued four demands they want met before ending the hunger strike.
Gauthier, Saunders and Kohlmeister’s demands include: a scientifically-approved plan for mitigating the impact of methylmercury caused by the flooding; an independent assessment of Nalcor’s stated reasons for flooding which, if truly necessary, should be kept to a minimum, and inform a second phase of wider flooding; a removal of topsoil in the final flood zone to minimize methylmercury leeching; for Ottawa to participate and meet is full obligations in an integrated monitoring program.