Protest in front of Naha District Court to demand release of Hiroji Yamashiro prior to submission of petition signed by 29,000
January 17, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
On January 16, a prefectural citizens’ organization opposing the relocation of U.S. bases within Okinawa held an emergency protest action in front of the Naha District Court to demand the immediate release of Okinawa Peace Movement Center Director Hiroji Yamashiro, who was arrested and indicted over his protest activities opposing the construction of a new base in Henoko, Nago City and has been in detention for approximately three months. According to organizer estimates, 400 people joined the protest, and participants called out for their friend to be returned to them. A petition calling for Yamashiro’s immediate release had gathered more than 29,000 signatures as of that morning, and former House of Councilors member Tokushin Yamauchi and others plan to submit the petition to the Naha District Court on January 17.
The Naha District Court responded to the protest by closing its gates and dispatching employees to the scene. From outside the gate, protesters called out, “Don’t allow unjust detention!” They also called out words of encouragement to Yamashiro, who is being detained in the Naha Branch Detention House behind the Naha District Court, saying, “Keep up your spirits! We are all with you!”
“There is no conceivable reason for detaining [Yamashiro] except as an attempt to suppress Okinawa’s voice and stop our action. We can’t allow this unjust detention that disregards human rights,” said Suzuyo Takazato, a co-representative of the prefectural citizen’s organization opposing the relocation of U.S. bases within Okinawa.
(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)
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