Nfld. & Labrador

Mud Lake spokesperson released from custody after arrest at Muskrat Falls

Melissa Best says her emotions took over Friday evening when she purposely broke the existing injunction and went past the main gate at Muskrat Falls.

Melissa Best says her community's flooding and the increased police presence motivated her to act

Melissa Best was arrested Friday evening for crossing the main gate at Muskrat Falls. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Melissa Best says her emotions took over Friday evening when she purposely broke the existing injunction and went past the main gate at Muskrat Falls.

She spent the night at the lockup in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and was released Saturday afternoon after a Supreme Court appearance.

"I was naive in thinking maybe they wouldn't arrest me because they flooded my community. but you know what? Good for them. They did," she said.

"My name is out there now, and let's go. Let's get out there and let's make this louder and stronger and better."

Arrest happens on day of final transformer delivery

Best said she originally went to the gate to watch the delivery of the last of the project's seven transformers.

"I knew once that came through then it was going to be final — it was going to be real — and this project is horrible," she said.

"Everything just flashed back, like walking through the water and seeing the water rise."

Best said the flooding in Mud Lake more than three months ago pushed her to get behind the Labrador Land Protectors group.

"Because you know what? The next time we're not going to be able to get our 83-year-old through the water because she'll be dead in her bed.

"You know, it's coming. If they don't do something, it's coming."

Extra police presence motivates move

But it was the police presence that she said pushed her to break the injunction for the first time and risk arrest.

Extra RCMP officers were brought to Labrador to help facilitate the transformer's move along the Trans-Labrador Highway from Cartwright to Muskrat.

"They weren't here to protect us," she said.

"There was no sign of the transformers and all of a sudden, as soon as I voiced my concerns, all these RCMP officers started showing up and I was like. 'Yeah, OK,' and that just, like, fuelled me. It just made me run."

Best signed an undertaking on Saturday that permits her to protest the project directly across from the main gate in an area known as the "protest pad."

She's allowed to drive the road for transportation purposes but is otherwise required to stay at least a kilometre away from the site.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Katie Breen

Video producer

Katie Breen shoots and edits video for CBC in St. John's. She began working in news ten years ago as a reporter. Now she tells most stories from behind the camera. You can reach her at katie.breen@cbc.ca

now