Sit-in protester against new U.S. base in Henoko arrested

Sit-in protester against new U.S. base in Henoko arrested

Police forcibly removed citizens who were trying to block mixer trucks from entering the base, at 1:20 a.m. on January 11, in front of U.S. Marine Corps Camp Schwab in Henoko, Nago.

January 11, 2015 Ryukyu Shimpo

More than 15 vehicles, including mixer trucks, came into U.S. Marine Corps Camp Schwab from late at night on January 10 until the early hours of the following morning to resume work to build a new U.S. base in Henoko, Nago. The governments of Japan and the United States plan to move U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma to the coastal area in Henoko. In front of the gate of Camp Schwab, about 30 citizens gathered to protest. A man was arrested by Nago Police for alleged assault against a security guard. It is the first time a protester has been arrested at the sit-in, which started in July last year.

According to witnesses, the man hit the face of a security guard with a plastic bottle, when he was restrained by the guard while attempting to sit in front of the gate. The man says, “I believe that I did not hit the face of the security guard [with a bottle], but if he was hit, I would like to apologize to him.”

The mixer trucks and heavy machinery were brought into the base after the citizen group finished their sit-in in front of the gate at 9 p.m. on January 10. At 10 p.m., the citizens gathered again at the scene, receiving an emergency call to block the trucks. The police forcibly removed the protesters.

The citizen group ended their protest action in front of the gate of Schwab, at 3 a.m. on Januray 11. However, they resumed it at 7 a.m. on the same day. About 10 people voiced protest against the construction work.

As of 8 a.m. on January 11, there has been no sign of offshore work in the Henoko coastal area or further arrivals of material and construction vehicles in front of the gate.

(English translation by T&CT)

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