Nfld. & Labrador·Video

Muskrat Falls protesters detained, accused of breaching court order

A number of anti-Muskrat Falls protesters were detained or served on Tuesday — while attending a court session to supporting other protesters in Labrador.

Surprise summons for Muskrat Falls protesters

Here and Now

5 years ago
Linda Saunders-McLean came to provincial court to support protesters making an appearance in provincial court. While she was there she and 7 others were taken into custody and brought to Supreme Court later that day for allegedly breaking the injunction at the Muskrat Falls site. 1:13

A number of anti-Muskrat Falls protesters were taken into custody or served on Tuesday — while attending a court session to supporting other protesters in Labrador.

A big group of supporters had arrived at provincial court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay on Tuesday afternoon to support the nine demonstrators who had been arrested at the Muskrat Falls site on Oct. 17, during that month's highly publicized anti-Muskrat Falls protests.

But before and after the hearing on Tuesday, some of the demonstrators were taken into custody or served with a court order themselves — compelling them to attend a hearing at the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court issued a new order, giving court sheriffs direction to bring 25 people to the Supreme Court. The group, which includes hunger-striker Billy Gauthier, is accused of breaching an October court order that forbids protesting on or blocking access to the Muskrat Falls site.

In a statement, Nalcor Energy said it had again "sought the assistance of the Supreme Court" to "ensure no one is hurt and to ensure continued and safe access to work areas."

"The Sheriff's Office is currently acting on a court order to require those individuals who continue to ignore the Injunction to appear before the Court," Karen O'Neil, a spokesperson for Nalcor, wrote.

Court sheriffs did not provide any comment.

8 in hearing Tuesday

Eight people were brought into the Supreme Court on Tuesday afternoon to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court.

The list included Kirk Lethbridge and Erin Saunders.

Others, such as Gail Pilgrim, were presented with a court summons for Dec. 5 in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

Pilgrim said she intended to continue to protest near the Muskrat Falls site, and said she was still not sure where she was allowed to stand.

According to Ossie Michelin, a new court order will compel the appearance of 96-year-old Dorothy Michelin. Labrador MP Yvonne Jones said that order made her sad.

Large protests at the Muskrat Falls site in October ended after the provincial government and leaders from Nunatsiavut, NunatuKavut and the Innu Nation, reached an agreement to increase monitoring and oversight at the hydroelectric protests.

But some protesters returned to the site on Saturday, blocking trucks heading towards the North Spur.

With files from Jacob Barker