All emergency vehicles permitted to pass through Muskrat Falls gate: protesters, Nalcor, police agree
Agreement follows worker’s transfer from worksite to hospital Friday
By Anna Delaney, CBC News, October 21, 2016
Despite the current blockade at the Muskrat Falls worksite in central Labrador, protesters say they’ve reached an agreement with Nalcor and police to let all emergency vehicles pass through the gate.
The agreement follows Friday morning’s incident when an injured worker had to be transported to hospital in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
Protesters have been limiting access since early Sunday morning. Their strategy is to shut down the mega-project by choking off the flow of resources and workers to the site.
Early Friday protesters said the worker could exit in the site’s ambulance and transfer to a hospital ambulance outside the gate. They planned to not allow the emergency vehicle back inside the gate, leaving the project’s medical services without one of its fleet.
The staff security didn’t want that. They wanted to keep the emergency vehicle inside.
After a conversation between staff and protesters that lasted about 25 minutes and was facilitated by the RCMP, the vehicles met at the main gate, the injured man was transferred and then transported to hospital.
Protesters said the decision to allow the ambulance to stay on-site hurt their leverage, especially since learning Thursday that personnel would be flown to the site via helicopter.
The group said the decision to allow the patient to be transferred without the ambulance leaving the worksite was made because he has a right to medical attention.
They blame Nalcor for the delay in getting the man to hospital because it wouldn’t allow the site’s ambulance outside the gate.
Sit-in at Nalcor project office in St. John’s
Meanwhile, a group of protesters occupied the lobby of a Nalcor office building in St. John’s Friday morning to show their solidarity with the main protest at Muskrat Falls.
“We are sitting here today to declare that we will not stand for a government that knowingly floods and poisons people,” read a press release from the group.
“We will not stand for a government that does not regard the health, culture and human rights of thousands of people. We will not stand for a government that seeks to fundamentally alter and harm the lands, waters and ways of life of Indigenous peoples without their consent.”
Their demands include meeting the conditions of the Make Muskrat Right campaign and only proceeding with flooding the reservoir with the consent of all Indigenous peoples of Labrador.
Author Lisa Moore was one of the people in attendance at Friday’s sit-in. She said she is seeing a new level of cynicism with the current protests and the government’s response.
“To have [Natural Resources Minister] Siobhan Coady say, ‘We respect the protectors and protesters but we’re going to do it anyway,’ how can those two phrases go together?” she said.
“This is a new kind of cynicism. It seems like the government is very in control of their spin machine, but at the same time we’re watching arrests happen very quickly.”
Workers getting in by air
While some workers are being flown into the worksite, many are still unable to work due to the blockade.
“The barring of access to the Muskrat Falls worksite by protesters prevented the day shift for local workers from upper Lake Melville from getting to work by bus again this morning,” a spokesperson from Nalcor said Friday.
There are about 685 residents from communities in upper Lake Melville working on the project, according to the company.
“Decisions regarding personnel requirements at site are made by individual contractors with the project.”
Security told protesters the worker has broken leg. Group isn’t allowing town ambulance in to do transfer inside gate. They want vehicle out pic.twitter.com/24BkHLsxIh
Posted on October 21, 2016, in Uncategorized and tagged direct action, Innu, Muskrat Falls, Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project, Nalcor Energy, Native blockade. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.