Henoko sit-in protesters released after being detained by US forces
February 24, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo
On the evening of February 23, the Naha District Public Prosecutor’s Office released Hiroji Yamashiro, 62, the director of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center, and Daigaku Tanimoto, 63, from Miyakojima City. The two men were arrested on suspicion of violating the Act on Special Measures Concerning Criminal Cases by the U.S. forces in front of Camp Schwab on February 22. They were subsequently handed over to Japanese investigating authorities. The public prosecutor’s office released them, because there is no risk of destruction of evidence or fleeing. They were detained for about 35 hours by the U.S. forces and the Japanese authorities.
When the activists came out the gate of the Nago Police Station, about 100 people welcomed them with applause. Yamashiro expressed his gratitude towards the people, saying, “I could hear your voices, and you sounded powerful.” “It is an almost groundless arrest. Maybe they feared the Okinawan people’s rally to be held later that day,” he added. “We need to take more care in the movement not to give them any opportunity to make such arrests. We would like to act legitimately and raise strong voices against the new U.S. base construction.”
The news that the two men were released reached the sit-in residents in front of Camp Schwab. Hiroshi Inaba, 64, from Shizuoka prefecture, said, “They should not have been arrested. But, we are happy. We will act all together to help anyone who will be apprehended. We have confidence to win victory in the struggle.”
At 7:00 a.m. on this day, in front of the gate, many people gathered. At 9:00 a.m., in front of the Nago Police Station, the protesters raised their voices: “Let’s release our brothers!” “Don’t allow a wrongful arrest!”
Protest actions continued successively until the evening.
(English translation by T&CT)
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