Seven hundred protest Medoruma arrest, continued oppression

Seven hundred protest Medoruma arrest, continued oppression

Citizens raise their fists in outrage as they protest the detainment of Shun Medoruma by the U.S. Marines on April 6 in front of the gate to U.S. Camp Foster in Kitanakagusuku

April 7, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

On April 6, an Okinawan group opposing military base relocation within Okinawa organized an urgent protest rally held in front of the gate to U.S. Camp Foster in Kitanakagusuku. According to the organizers, 700 people joined the rally, where they raised their voices to protest the recent eight-hour detention of Akutagawa Prize-winning author Shun Medoruma by the U.S. Marines, along with other human rights infringements that have been perpetrated by the U.S. military in Okinawa since the end of World War II. Medoruma also joined the rally, where he spoke about his experience of being detained. Camp Foster is home to the Okinawa Area Field Office of United States Forces Japan.

“When I was brought onto the base and confined, people outside the base were unable to obtain information about what was going on inside. Extraterritorial rights are granted on the other side of the fences. The U.S. military is going over the heads of the Japanese police to directly oppress Okinawans. We cannot tolerate them oppressing us,” Medoruma said.

“The U.S. military always brings up the old cliché about being a good neighbor,” Council Against the Heliport director Yoshiyuki Nakamura said, speaking to the attendees. “The only choice the U.S. military has left is to close all the bases. Let’s use this rally as an opportunity to spread our voices throughout the world.”

(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)

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