Nfld. & Labrador

Protesters march on Muskrat Falls, RCMP watch

People upset over the megaproject, and the plan to begin initial flooding this month, staged a demonstration Monday afternoon.

Demonstrators say they are unafraid of being arrested for trespassing

Steve Tooktoshina says he's protesting for his six grandchildren, and doesn't care if he gets arrested. (Katie Breen/CBC)

Protesters in Labrador trespassed on part of the Muskrat Falls site Monday, halting work in the latest demonstration against the megaproject.

The group said a short prayer before beginning the protest, with some demonstators saying they were unafraid of being arrested for trespassing.

"I'm prepared to do that," said Steve Tooktoshina. "I'm doing this for my grandchildren."

Two RCMP vehicles and a changing number of Nalcor pickup trucks tailed the 19 protesters as they made their way towards the North Spur and back.

Result

Police never interacted with the protesters during the two-hour trek through the site.

"There were no arrests [Monday] so we will have to ramp things up a little," said protester Kirk Lethbridge. 

He has plans to meet with other members of the group in the "very near future" to plan further action. 

The turnout was about double what organizers were expecting. 

"People from all cultures, non-native people, aboriginal people; everybody has been here [Monday]," said Lethbridge. 

"We're all here together as human beings and this project has to be stopped."

North Spur and methyl mercury fears

The group said a short prayer before beginning their protest Monday afternoon. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

As protesters stood on the edge of the North Spur, many voiced concern over the giant berm's ability to hold back water once Nalcor begins flooding the reservoir. 

"We don't want to be drowned in our beds. We don't want to have our neighbours to be washed away and we don't want an end to the fishery in Lake Melville," Lethbridge said. 

There's also concern over a possible rise in methyl mercury levels due to the flooding, a concern backed up by a Harvard University study.

Flooding can start Oct 15

Monday's protest comes on the heels of a similar outpouring of sentiment on Friday, outside the Labrador Aboriginal Affairs office in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.

That same day, Nalcor Energy, the company heading up the Muskrat Falls project, announced initial flooding of its reservoir could begin as early as Oct. 15.

With files from Katie Breen and Jacob Barker

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