Mannequin flash mob to call for release of Okinawa peace activist Yamashiro
February 13 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
The detention of the chairman of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center Hiroji Yamashiro, who took on a central role in the movements opposing Henoko base construction and Takae helipad construction, has continued for about four months. Eight people mainly from Yomitan Village staged a mannequin flash mob to call for Yamashiro’s release at Mihama Square in front of an observation wheel in Chatan on February 12. Wearing black suits, the participants pretended to be mannequins. They held handmade picket signs calling for “an immediate end to Yamashiro’s unjust and long detention.” They made this silent, motionless appeal for about an hour.
Yamashiro was arrested, indicted, and has been detained for an extended period of time charged with interfering with a public official in the line of duty.
Seventy-four-year-old Mamoru Togashi who planned the flash mob, met Yamashiro when he took part in a sit-in protest in Henoko. Saying, “I would like people outside of Okinawa and young ones to know how unjust the detention of Yamashiro is.” Togashi called for those joining the sit-in protest to take part in the flash mob.
Togashi explained he chose a place and date that would draw families, tourists, and young people to the mannequin flash mob.
The unexpected appearance of the group of people in black suits drew the attention of tourists and passersby.
Sixty-five- year-old Nariko Kakiuchi who took part in the flash mob, has been engaged in the sit-in protest in Takae and Henoko for over 10 years. Referring to the issue of there being only few participants from the younger generation, Kakiuchi said, “I would like the next generation to stand up and voice their protest.” Many people appear to be waiting for the release of Yamashiro. More people continue to call for his release in various parts of Okinawa.
(English translation by T&CT)
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