LLP members allege double standard by police

Protesters who broke into DFO building not facing charges relating to incident

Published on April 19, 2017

The Muskrat Falls demonstrations last fall lead to criminal charges for a number of people involved. A recent protest at a DFO building where the RNC said they will not pursue charges is being called a double standard by some.

©File Photo

On April 7, a group of shrimp fishermen broke into a DFO building in St. John’s as part of a protest and the RNC said charges would not be laid.

Jacinda Beals, one of the Labrador Land Protectors who is facing criminal charges relating to the Muskrat Falls protests last fall, said she sees as a double standard, but isn’t surprised.

“Unfortunately I am not surprised. Through these past six months Labradorians have been seeing how different we are treated compared to the Island,” she told the Labradorian. “Many protests took place in St. John's, even shutting down a Nalcor Office, and no one was ever served or arrested.”

Beals had just returned from Provincial Court where she is criminally charged for blocking Nalcor Traffic at the Main Gate of Muskrat Falls in October.

“It was an extremely peaceful protest and there was zero damage or violence,” she said. “It is very easy to see how different we are treated here.”

Beals said as far as she knows police never showed at any of the group’s demonstrations on the island but any time they get together in Labrador the police are not far away.

Kirk Lethbridge, who is also criminally charged relating to the October Muskrat Falls protests, said he fully supports the fishery protests and wishes them the best. He said there is a difference he sees between the DFO protests and the Muskrat Falls demonstrations.

“The fact that the events at DFO Office was not a multi-billion dollar matter, whereas the Muskrat Falls demonstrations challenge a billion dollar project, is not lost on the people of the province,” he said.

Amy Norman of the LLP echoed Lethbridge’s support of the fishermen and their right to voice their concerns, she agreed with Beals that it’s a double standard and that the police response to actions taken by the LLP has always been heavy handed.

“The fact that the fishermen will not be charged should serve as a reminder of who the justice system serves, and who gets left behind. Labradorians, particularly indigenous Labradorians, are now facing the colonial court system for peacefully defending their lands and cultures. And those in Newfoundland get to walk away, scot-free.”