Sit-in protest in front of Camp Schwab marks 150 days and 18,000 participants
December 4, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo
Citizens of a sit-in protest in front of the gate of U.S. Marine Camp Schwab marked 150 days since the sit-in began on December 3. They started this action against the construction of a new U.S. air base in Henoko, Nago on July 7. According to calculations by the Ryukyu Shimpo’s reporters, the number of participants in the sit-in protest inside and outside of Okinawa amounts to 18,243 people, including those in the people’ rallies in August and September.
Hiroji Yamashiro, the director of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center, said, “Our struggle came to a stage where the Okinawan Governor was replaced by an opponent of the new U.S. air base. We will continue our movement with confidence. We can stop the construction definitely.”
According to the organizer, the number of participants in the first people’s rally held on August 23 was about 3,600 people and in the second people’s rally on September 20 there were about 5,500 people. The total number of participants in the two rallies was 9,100 people.
Not only residents, but also many students, scholars and artists from other prefectures and abroad visited the sit-in protest, and studied Okinawan problems. Takeshi Onaga, the next governor of Okinawa, Kazuo Shii, the chairman of the Communist Party and many politicians visited the scene to encourage citizens.
Kizo Takagaki, 65, a Motobu resident who has taken part in the sit-in action almost every day, highlighted the significance of the protest. “I have felt deeply the strong desire of the people who are against the base construction, as the days went by at the sit-in,” he said. “We will use our power to support incoming governor Onaga who is opposing the new base construction.”
(English translation by T&CT)
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