Henoko protesters decry rape incident: “Who are the police really protecting?”

Henoko protesters decry rape incident: “Who are the police really protecting?”

Citizens object to the recent rape incident involving a U.S. serviceman, raising their voices in protest toward U.S. military vehicles and trucks transporting materials on the morning of March 15 in Henoko, Nago

March 15, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

On the morning of March 15, around fifty protesters opposing the construction of a new U.S. military base in Henoko, Nago gathered to demonstrate in front of the gate used by construction vehicles entering U.S. Camp Schwab. The protesters raised their voices in objection to the recent rape incident perpetrated by a U.S. serviceman.

Directing his words to the prefectural police officers and riot police from the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Agency stationed at the scene to control the protesters, Hiroji Yamashiro of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center called out, “You should be controlling the U.S. military, not us! What is your real priority?” Other protesters also called out, “Who are the police really here to protect?” and approached riot police members to say, “Go back to Tokyo!” The protesters also raised their voices in anger toward trucks transporting materials and vehicles with Y-number license plates entering the base. Y-number license plates signify that a vehicle is registered to someone affiliated with the U.S. military.

Additionally, around 10:30 a.m., a man protesting in front of the Camp Schwab new gate was detained within the base compound by a security guard working on the base.

Masaaki Kuboshita, 64, a protester from the Hokkaido Peace Movement Forum’s Tokachi Block Association, explained, “Okinawa is a part of Japan, but it has long suffered discrimination. The safety of Japan was achieved on the back of Okinawan sacrifice. I want to protest that.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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