Henoko protesters detained by US military
February 23, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
On February 22, officers from Nago Police Station arrested two men for allegedly trespassing onto U.S. Marine Camp Schwab. According to the Okinawa Prefectural Police, they have been charged with violating the Act on Special Measures Concerning Criminal Cases.
Hiroji Yamashiro, the director of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center and Daigaku Tanimoto, were protesting against construction of a replacement base for U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Henoko when they were arrested. This is the first time Henoko protesters have been arrested for violating the Act on Special Measures Concerning Criminal Cases in front of the Camp Schwab gate. Law experts have criticized the police for applying the act in this case.
Yamashiro and Tanimoto were allegedly suspected of trespassing onto Camp Schwab around 9 a.m. on February 22. According to witnesses, protestors scuffled with Japanese security guards working for the U.S. military, in front of the base’s new gate. Then Yamashiro and Tanimoto were dragged into the base by the security guards. The pair were detained on the base for about four hours, and then turned over to Nago Police Station at around 1 p.m. According to attorneys who spoke to the arrested protesters, they were taken to the base with their hands cuffed behind them.
According to the Okinawa Prefectural Police, at around 9:30 a.m, the U.S. military reported that they had constrained the two men. Tadashi Zukeran of the prefectural police said, “We got debriefed by the U.S. military and they let us watch footage of the incident.”
A spokesperson for the prefectural police said, “The U.S. military secured and constrained Yamashiro and Tanimoto.” A spokesperson from the public affairs office for the Marine Corps Base on Okinawa told the Ryukyu Shimpo the Japanese security guards “arrested” Yamashiro and another protester for trespassing onto Camp Schwab.
Following the arrests of the protestors, many citizens gathered at Nago Police Station. They raised their voices in protest, claiming the arrests were unjustifiable and demanding the immediate release of the protestors. Nago Police Station sent the protesters to the Naha district public prosecutors office on February 23.
On the same day, the district public prosecutors office released Yamashiro at 7:44 p.m. and Tanimoto at 7:50 p.m.
(English translation by T&CT)
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