About 2,100 people take part in 5.15 peace rally despite the rain

About 2,100 people take part in 5.15 peace rally despite the rain

In the heavy rain, about 2,100 people take part in the 5.15peace rally on May 18 at the open space of Ginowan Stadium. (Photograph taken by Futoshi Hanashiro.)

May 19, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo

On May 18, the last day of the 37th peace march, a rally to protect life and peace was held in Ginowan. The march and rally commemorate the 42nd anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japanese sovereignty from the United Sates occupation. Despite heavy rain, about 2,100 people took part in the rally. The event was cut short and moved to a different location due to the weather.

Participants criticized the Abe administration for its forcible building of a new air base in Henoko, Nago. They also protested against Prime Minister Abe’s attempt to change the government’s long-standing interpretation of the constitution in order to exercise the right to collective self-defense. They pledged that they would spread the movement against the Abe administration from Okinawa to the rest of the country.

On May 16, three peace marches were held in different regions of Okinawa main island, culminating in a rally in Ginowan on May 18. Marches were also held in Yaeyama and Miyako Islands. According to the organizer, about 5,370 people took part in the weekend of marches, which were held on five courses, spanning a total of 136.8 kilo meters, in the main Island of Okinawa, Miyako and Yaeyama Islands. The participants walked near U.S. bases and sites of the Battle of Okinawa.

Hiroji Yamashiro, the director of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center and the chairman of the executive committee of the peace march, called the participants to action. “We have determined ourselves with the participants across the country to reject giving way to the war policy of the Abe administration. We want you from other prefectures to deliver our messages to your people.”

Representatives from each march read this rally declaration to the participants, adding “we will reject the war plot by the government, which is stepping forward on the road to war and we will oppose a constitutional revision. We will struggle for the world peace.” The participants raised the spirit with shouts of “ganbaro!” (Let’s do our best!) three times at the end.

(English translation by T&CT)

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