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NunatuKavut Community Council denounces arrest of Inuit protesters

['Todd Russell, president of the NunatuKavut Community Council in Labrador, speaks during "A Public Presentation: Identity Politics," at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.']
['Todd Russell, president of the NunatuKavut Community Council in Labrador, speaks during "A Public Presentation: Identity Politics," at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014.']

HAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, NL – The NunatuKavut Community Council (NCC) is condemning the arrest of three Inuit protesters in Labrador.

Jim Learning, Eldred Davis and Marjorie Flowers were taken into custody and jailed in Happy Valley-Goose Bay Friday in connection with their protest of the Muskrat Falls project.

In a statement today, NCC President Todd Russell said all three have expressed their opposition to the project for years.

Russell pointed out in the statement Learning and Davis are NunatuKavut members, and while Learning is a NCC councillor, the NCC respects his rights as an individual to stand up for what he believes in and to act on his beliefs.

Russell said Inuit protesters have the rights of freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly.

He said the incarceration of the trio demonstrates a flaw in the justice system.

“The provisions of the injunction are an unjust limitation on their Charter rights,” Russell said.

“To have these three people also taken from their community without notice to their family and friends is a travesty in itself. Why is it that, when Indigenous peoples are involved in protest, such extreme and unnecessary measures are taken by the justice system?”

Russell said in the statement the NCC is calling for the Learning, Davis and Flowers to be immediately released.

“We also demand that the Attorney General of Newfoundland and Labrador, who is responsible for the administration of justice in this province, do his job,” he said.

“We expect the administration of justice in this province to respect the nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples and to live up to promises around reconciliation. It can, and must, do better.” 

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