New Yorkers gather to protest against new base construction in Henoko
July 13, 2015 Yoshiharu Higa, Correspondent of Ryukyu Shimpo
In a gentle rain in the morning of June 30, a protest rally against the construction of a new offshore U.S. air base in Henoko was held at Union Square Park in New York. In the lead up to Okinawa Memorial Day, participants carrying placards saying, “No Henoko base” gathered at the park. Rachel Clark, who led a grassroots effort in the suburbs of New York to protest against the plan to move U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the Henoko district in Nago, organized the rally. The participants mainly consisted of young people.
Rallies and performances by artists are held in the park every day. The park is historically known as a place where citizens gather to preserve freedom of speech and expression. At the rally site, the organizers displayed many photographs of the beautiful Henoko sea, attracting many visitors.
As well as New Yorkers, tourists and international students from other countries stopped by the rally.
The event organizers explained the current situation in Okinawa and expressed opposition to the new base’s construction in Henoko. Some who stopped at the rally passionately asked questions.
Many people acknowledged what has been happening in Okinawa. The visitors signed a petition demanding cancellation of the Henoko relocation plan.
Clark stressed the importance of the grassroots campaign.
(English translation by T&CT)
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