Reports from the Lizard’s Revenge uranium protest/festival in Roxby Downs in South Australia are that it has so far been orderly and well planned; however, as a protester you had better be not too worried about any privacy issues.
The festival/protest was called after plans were announced to increase production at BHP’s Olympic Dam and in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster which is still unfolding a year later.
Bay FM president Ros Elliott is part of the 15 or so local contingent and she told Echonetdaily that roadblocks with drug and alcohol testing and searches were set up in Port Augusta, well before anyone rolled into Roxby Downs.
‘Anyone with dreads and any cars that looked slightly unroadworthy were given a lot of attention,’ she says. But more than that, Ms Elliott claims the camp originally planned for the protesters has been moved by police to another spot.
‘It’s still another parcel of Crown land but it gives them more powers,’ she says. ‘We now need permission to enter our own camps! Everyone’s name is taken down and you need to give a reason for entering.’
She says it’s very intimidating and feels like a detention camp.
‘Inside Roxby, police were taking videos and photos of everyone. We’re under constant surveillance. Despite that, everyone is well behaved and peaceful. There’s around four hundred of us, with a lot of young kids and families included.
She says on the first day all the police had earplugs. ‘I have heard about tactics in the US where police use sonic waves to knock out protesters, so we weren’t sure what this was.’ She says fewer police wore them the second day.
Filmmaker and Shire resident David Bradbury agrees the police presence is disproportionate. But despite that, he says protesters ‘are mostly generation Y; smart young people with degrees in science, arts/law, communications, ecology, graphic arts etc. It’s a wonderful artistic and musical celebration of life and the planet.
Gates of hell
‘The biggest issue that sticks in our throats is the South Australian government passing a law calling the area a ‘protective security zone’, meaning the police call all the shots in that area and you can only go where they say you can go. Or be arrested. They are very fascist-like in this. One cop quoted ‘homeland security’ as the reason one ‘sus’ looking person and his van were pulled over and searched en route.
‘Dr Helen Caldicott is stepping into the mouth of the lion at Roxby town forum on Wednesday afternoon to give a talk to mums and grandmothers, fathers… whoever wants to come. It’s to tell them of the dangers of low radiation exposure living in the shadow of a uranium mine that gives off dangerous radon gas – it’s seven times heavier than air so it doesn’t evaporate into space but hugs the ground and is odourless. You can’t smell you’re breathing it and it’s very carcinogenic. Both Ros Elliott and David Bradbury say they are part of a team that will personally letterbox 1200 homes throughout Roxby and neighbouring towns Andamooka and Woomera.