3,800 protesters surrounding OPG buildings say no to new US air base construction
October 10, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo
On October 9, citizen groups formed a human chain around the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) buildings in Naha to demonstrated their united opposition to the construction of a new US Marine air base in Henoko, Nago, to replace the Futenma base in Ginowan. According to the organizers, about 3,800 people gathered and voiced their plans to stop the relocation of the Futenma base within Okinawa. The participants requested that the OPG reject an application submitted by the Okinawa Defense Bureau to change the method used for landfill, which is part of the planned base construction in Henoko.
This was the third rally opposing the base’s construction since July 1, when demolition of existing buildings started in Camp Schwab. Citizens, including parents and children, took part in the lunchtime rally. There were also some participants from abroad. Citizen group members, who continue to protest against the new base in Henoko and US military helipad construction underway in Takae, Higashi, joined in the rally.
The participants held blue signboards bearing messages, “No to a new base in Henoko” and “We will not surrender”. They chanted, “Stop the landfill for the sake of children,” and “Stop the new base and fight for the future.” They created a human “peace wave”.
Ashitomi Hiroshi, co-representative of the Helicopter Base Objection Association, said in his speech, “Our strike against the Henoko relocation will end in our victory. We will continue to fight at the scene. I would like everyone who lives in Naha, and central and southern parts of the island to fight together to win the victory.”
Rie Ishihara, a member of the group protesting against the construction of US helipad in Takae, stated in her speech, “The sea in Henoko and the forest of Yambaru are the treasures of Okinawa. Let’s protect the treasures of the islands and the future of children.”
Representatives of the four opposition parties of the Okinawa Prefectural Assembly made speeches.
(English translation by T&CT)
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