The Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge and regional law enforcement agencies had prepared for possible protests at Y-12 on Monday, when the grand jury decision was announced in Ferguson, Missouri, but there didn’t appear to have been any protests at the Oak Ridge plant as of Tuesday afternoon.
Y-12 had appeared among a list of demonstration sites on the Ferguson National Response Network Web page. The Y-12 protest was scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Monday, the day of the grand jury announcement, and demonstrators were asked to bring cell phones, cameras, signs, and megaphones.
But there didn’t appear to be anyone near the Scarboro road entrance to Y-12 at about 6:30 p.m. Monday or later at about 9:30 p.m. Scarboro Road was hemmed in on one side by Y-12’s temporary fence and on the other by City of Oak Ridge traffic barrels, cones, and police tape. Temporary barricades were erected to block Y-12’s entrances, and concrete barriers inside the main entrance appeared to have been angled in the roadway to deter or slow down unwanted visitors.
The grand jury announced Monday that it would not indict police officer Darren Wilson, who is white, in the fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager, Michael Brown, who was black. The case has attracted national attention, led to several months of protests and demonstrations in Ferguson, and spurred conversations about race and the criminal justice system.
Steven Wyatt, spokesman for the National Nuclear Security Administration, said federal officials aren’t sure why Y-12 was included on the Ferguson-related demonstration list.
But the plant wanted to be prepared, he said.
“Our number one priority is public safety and ensuring the security of the plant,” Wyatt said. “We were preparing for potential protests.”
Besides Oak Ridge, other Tennessee cities were also on the Ferguson-related demonstration list, including Johnson City, Dunlap, Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis. Asheville, North Carolina, was also on the list. There were protests in cities across the county on Tuesday, including in Knoxville, Nashville, Atlanta, New York City, and Los Angeles.