Wednesday, 18 July 2012
Activists break through gate at uranium mine, Australia
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Activists break through gate at uranium mine
PM By Rebecca Brice and staff
Updated July 17, 2012 08:04:39
VIDEO: Mine protesters storm outer gate (7pm TV News SA)
MAP: Roxby Downs 5725
Anti-uranium activists have smashed through the perimeter gate of the Olympic Dam mine near Roxby Downs, 560 kilometres north-west of Adelaide.
The protesters are opposed to the planned expansion of the mine which sits on top of the largest known uranium deposit in the world.
Security guards and police waited inside the mine gate as the group of about 350 people broke a lock to smash through an exterior fence.
They were prevented from reaching the mine, however, by the main reinforced steel gate.
The move prompted police to bring in extra officers on horseback and on foot in the third day of protests against BHP Billiton's multi-billion-dollar expansion.
The group marched two kilometres from a makeshift camping ground, chanting anti-uranium messages and jeering mine workers who were watching from the side.
It was really brute force. They just pushed and pulled back and forth on the gate until the lock broke on it and they pushed their way through it. It's a cyclone wire fence though, so it's not particularly strong compared to the second gate that's there.
The second one is much sturdier and they did push and pull on it, but someone from BHP, who is here among the crowd, said to me that they were fairly confident that it was strong enough to withstand that force.
I spoke with one of the protesters ... and she described the act as harmless and said that it was really probably just a matter of the protesters being quite frustrated that they've been contained, they're saying, in their campfire sites since the last couple of days.
ABC reporter Rebecca Brice
Some have lit campfires and others are dancing and singing as police stand around them securing the site.
Today's action was the first sign of civil disobedience during protests at the site.
Police have said they are trying to run the protest without creating confrontation.
There have been a handful of verbal confrontations but no physical contact between police and protesters.
But police said they were filming the activists and warned they would prosecute those responsible for breaking through the gate.
BHP said the protesters have not done anything to stop or slow production.
Topics: uranium-mining, mining-industry, industry, nuclear-issues, environment, government-and-politics, activism-and-lobbying, roxby-downs-5725, sa, australia
First posted July 16, 2012 20:03:34