Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Having the right to

protest is often regarded as one of the great rights of democracy.
There is a large protest taking place at the Olympic Dam mine site at Roxby Downs in the north of South Australia. Several thousand protestors have made their way there for a five day protest. They want the mine to close. They want the mining of uranium to stop. They want all nuclear facilities shut down.
There is also a large police presence - a presence designed to prevent the protestors getting in and doing actually physical damage. Yesterday the protestors damaged a gate. What they will do today is anyone's guess.
I believe people have a right to protest - provided that they do it in a way which does not break the law or harm property which is owned by others under the current law of the land.  I do not believe violent protest and property damage are rights. War is not a right. It is a last resort.
The current protest is costing a great deal of money. The protestors are paying very little of this - although they would claim they are giving up time and paying fuel costs etc to get there and be there. Some would say they are giving up part of their annual leave. They are serious and earnest and I have no doubt that many of them believe in their cause. Others are just along for the ride. It is a protest. It will be fun.
The government on the other hand is paying to have the site protected and policed. The mine is attempting to continue work as usual but the people who live in the town are under seige. No doubt the protestors feel that the workers need to feel the pressure - in the hopes that they will cease working there. I know a family living there - school teachers - who say it is disturbing.
The protest will not succeed in closing down the mine. Whether the mine will expand will depend on the market and politics not the protestors there now.
What I would like to know however is whether any of these protestors have ever benefitted from nuclear medicine? If they became ill and nuclear medicine, and only nuclear medicine, could save their lives would they use it? Would they accept it for a family member?
It seems to me that question adds another dimension to this particular protest.
The protestors have a right to protest but do they have the right to deny others to the benefits of nuclear medicine? Ultimately that is what it amounts to.

1 comment:

the Nuclear Resister said...

all the isotopes needed for nuclear medicine could be produced by a single reactor. Objection to nuclear power has nothing to do with nuclear medicine.