Mass gathering demanding release of Yamashiro and detainees held before Naha District Court
February 24, 2017 Ryukyu Shimpo
On February 24, at a park near the Naha District Court, the Free Hiroji Yamashiro and Other Protestors Now mass gathering was held to demand the prompt release of chairman of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center Hiroji Yamashiro and other detainees. Yamashiro’s long-term confinement has now stretched on for more than four months following his arrest and indictment on suspicion of obstructing official business by force, acting with the protest movement against constructing a new base in Henoko, Nago.
The words “We demand that the court fulfill its duty as a stronghold of human rights and democracy by promptly releasing Hiroji Yamashiro and the others,” as part of a resolution pointing out the injustice of Yamashiro’s arrest and long-term detention, were spoken to the crowd and met with applause.
After this, organizing representatives of the gathering headed to Naha District Court to submit the written resolution. However, they did not come to terms with the court. Participants in the gathering surged the grounds of the court, and repeated chants in unison in front of the entryway to the courthouse.
Participants afterward followed Kokusai Dori (International Street) from the park to the public square, where they marched and called out: “Stop unjust oppression,” “Release these three immediately,” and other such slogans.
The three organizers of this gathering were a group calling for the prompt release of Hiroji Yamashiro and other detainees, the prefectural citizen’s organization opposing the relocation of U.S. bases within Okinawa, and a group supporting detainees who have been politically oppressed through unjust arrest.
(English translation by T&CT and Erin Jones)
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