Rallies calling for the withdrawal of the Osprey held in 24 municipalities

Rallies calling for the withdrawal of the Osprey held in 24 municipalities

In the evening on November 30, participants protested in front of the Nodake Gate of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan.

December 1, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo

December 1 marked two months having passed since the United States deployed the MV-22 Osprey aircraft squadron to U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma. There are still strong voices being raised among Okinawan people seeking the withdrawal of the Osprey. Starting with the Ginowan citizens’ rally held in June, a mass rally by Okinawans was held on September 9. After that, 24 municipalities have held a total of 21 rallies, including those held on remote islands on the same day as the Okinawan people’s mass rally. Other municipalities are also looking to hold rallies. Early next year, the organizing committee for the Okinawan peoples’ rally is scheduled to request that the government take action.

Residents are unhappy with the current situation of Osprey flying throughout the prefecture, and are concerned about noise pollution and possible accidents. The Okinawan peoples’ movement seeking to have the MV-22 squadrons withdrawn indicates that momentum is building throughout the prefecture.

Every day civic groups carry out a sit-down protest and rallies opposing the Osprey deployment. Every Friday evening, the Okinawa Peace Movement Center holds an ongoing protest rally in front of the Nodake Gate of MCAS Futenma. On November 30, in the rain, about 100 people called for the removal of the Osprey from Okinawa. In a hard-hitting speech, Naoshi Kadekaru, the chairman of the Central District Labor Organization, said, “Let’s show the children of Okinawa that we can be victorious in having the Osprey withdrawn.”

Uruma resident Hiyori Mekaru who participated in the rally, said, “The governments trampled on the will of the people that was displayed by 100000 people in the mass rally to oppose the deployment of the Osprey. Residents continue to be victims in this. We must not allow the bases to remain as a problem for our children to inherit. “ Mari Nishimoto, a student of Okinawa International University, showed her indignation, saying, “Osprey flights violate the agreement established between the United States and Japan to ensure safety since the aircraft were deployed to Futenma Air Station. It makes me really angry.” On December 23, the Okinawa Peace Movement Center and the Okinawa
United Action Liaison Council (Toitsuren), will hold a rally for around 10000 people at the Open Theater in Ginowan Seaside Park.

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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