Protestors Accost GTac Woman while on Mine Site

By KBJR News 1

June 12, 2013 Updated Jun 12, 2013 at 12:47 AM CDT

Mellen, WI (NNCNOW.com) - One women working for Gogebic Taconite was accosted while out working at the mine site on Tuesday.

"Well we set up our drilling equipment, and some of the protesters, there were less violent protesters out there and there were folks who were there to cause trouble, most of it was kind of a nuisance, but they did accost one of our folks, they took her camera and her phone from her, and apparently destroyed the camera," said Bob Seitz, Director of External Affairs for GTac.

Those protestors also blocked off the road to the mine site with wood and rock and used their own locks on the gate at the entrance of the mine.

The protesters allegedly stayed at the La Courte Oreilles Harvest Camp just down the road from the mine site.

"This camp has been host to over 250 or more people over the past couple of weeks. We have 30 or 40 people living in this area. There are other people camping in the Penokee range, some we know about some we don't know about," said Camp Facilitator, Paul Demain.

In the wake of the incident, people who run the camp had a meeting to remind those visiting the purpose of the camp.

"All the people in the camp understand that this is a harvest camp, established under treaty regulations with an agreement that was negotiated with Iron County and the LCO tribe, and that the sanctity of that agreement with Iron County needs to be preserved. this should not be a place where direct action or confrontation or other illegal activities are allowed to take place," said Demain.

That being said, the camp director maintains he cannot control what people may do.

"I do not have any authority over what people do anywhere. All I have is what happens here, this is a peaceful camp, and we are going to keep it that way, everybody knows that we are peaceful loving people," said Mel Gasper, camp director.

People, Gasper says, who want to protect and preserve the environment for generations to come.

The Iron County Sheriff's department has been patrolling the area to ensure no more incidents like this one will happen again.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.