Police harassing protesters and depriving civil liberties

Numbers swell at Protest camp

Arabunna elder Kevin Buzzacott

Sarah Martin The Australian July 16th 2012

Organiser Nectaria Calan said police were harassing protesters and depriving the group of their civil liberties by demanding identification and controlling access to and from their campsite.

"They have barricaded us into camps . . . and you can't get out with a two-wheel-drive," she said.

"They are forcing us to go through the roadblock with an escort through the protected area, where police have increased powers. We feel like our civil liberties are being undermined."

Ms Calan said protesters were still arriving for the five-day Lizard's Revenge Festival and urged police to respect their right to protest.

Police said protesters had defied orders to march on one lane from the campsite to the mine gates 1.3km away, causing a two-hour road closure, but the event had been otherwise controlled.

The anti-nuclear activists, who are protesting against the mine expansion and the uranium industry, have vowed to shut down the mine, with further protest action planned.

They say the company and the state and federal government have put short-term economic gain ahead of environmental and health concerns.

Elder Kevin Buzzacott, who had previously tried to stall the mine expansion through a legal challenge, said the uranium industry was "deadly". "The sooner it stops the better. If people really knew what they were destroying they wouldn't touch it."

Northern Operations Assistant Commissioner Neil Smith rejected suggestions the police response to the protesters had been heavy-handed.

Anti-nuclear protesters disperse after police stand-off

ABC News 16th July 2012

Day 2 at Olymoic Dam

Anti-nuclear demonstrators called off Sunday's protest outside the Olympic Dam uranium mine in South Australia's outback after a two-hour stand-off with police.

Organisers say about 450 people had just started their march from their campsite to the gate of the BHP Billiton mine, when their route was blocked by police officers.

Police say protestors broke an agreement not to use cars in the demonstration.

But organisers says the car in question was not being driven, but pushed, by demonstrators.

"What they were saying was you can't drive your vehicles on Olympic Way to the gate which we haven't been doing, so the lizard car was being pushed," organiser Nectaria Calan said.

"It's a sculpture, not a vehicle in the sense of using it to drive people.

"They're saying that for safety reasons we can't take the vehicle on to the road but there's no other traffic on the road anyway because it's blocked.

"We'll probably have a discussion about it tonight and discuss our options and discuss the consequences of our options and also speak to the police again and try and negotiate the car and just go from there."

The protestors intend to march again on Monday.

Donna Jackson, from the Larrakia people - the traditional owners of land around Darwin - says she travelled to the mine to protest against uranium being transported through the Northern Territory.

"We don't want uranium coming through our harbour. It's too unsafe," she said.

"We have a big wet season every year, nearly two metres of rain and there's been lots of spillage.

"There was a broken rail last year, a load of copper concentrate came off the rail."

Police arrested a protestor on Saturday night for traffic offences and for refusing to provide personal details.

Assistant Commissioner Neil Smith said the protestors occupied a protected area, which gives police more powers to stop them and demand identification.

Painted protester vehicle stopped from approaching Olympic Dam site

Archive Image

Ben Hyde (Adelaide Advertiser) Herald Sun July 16th 2012

A Car symbolically decorated as a lizard has emerged as the pawn in a stand-off between police and Olympic Dam protesters.

Lizard's Revenge protesters were last night liaising with police in a bid to get permission to take the car to the Olympic Dam mine gates today.

Today's protest has also been billed as the day each protester takes their individual action against the mine.

Police yesterday refused to allow the protesters to push the car, with Aboriginal elder Kevin Buzzacott inside, to the gates as part of their planned zombie march, saying it was not part of the agreed terms of the demonstration.

A desert stand-off emerged when the activists started pushing the car on a dirt track towards Olympic Way to begin the 1.3km march to the gates just after 3pm.

A police 4WD drove into its path, halting the car, and several officers stood guard.

Protesters made requests for about two hours to take the car on the road but they were denied and returned to camp about 5.30pm without doing their march.

Northern Operations Assistant Commissioner Neil Smith said the protesters had been told no vehicles were permitted in the march.

"When it came down the track, it was in direct contradiction to the agreement we had in place," he said. Lizard's Revenge co-organiser Izzy Brown said the group had always planned to take the car to the mine gates.

The car represents the sleepy lizard Kalta, which according to an Aboriginal Dreamtime story is in the ground where the proposed mine expansion will be dug.

"This is the lizard car, this festival is called the Lizard's Revenge and a lot of energy and time and people have come together to bring the lizard to the gates of hell, and that's what we intend to do," Ms Brown said.

Mr Buzzacott said he needed to ride in the car as he was unable to walk the 1.3km journey because of ill health.

He said he would refuse the option of being driven to the mine gates in a police car as it would defeat the purpose of the demonstration.

Earlier yesterday, one protester was involved in a confrontation with a Roxby Downs resident as they travelled into town to stock up water supplies.

Police described the incident as a minor assault but no charges were laid.