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HOME  > Past issues  > 2013 June 26 - July 2  > Okinawans’ sit-in protest against US helipad construction reaches 6th year
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2013 June 26 - July 2 [OKINAWA]

Okinawans’ sit-in protest against US helipad construction reaches 6th year

July 1, 2013
An assembly to mark the sixth anniversary of the start of Okinawans’ sit-in protest against the construction of U.S. military helipads took place on June 30 and the venue was packed with about 500 citizens.

Residents of the Takae district in northern Okinawa have carried out the nonviolent campaign near the construction site since the Okinawa Defense Bureau began to build the helipads in 2007 in defiance of local opposition. The authorities filed a lawsuit against those residents in 2008, insisting that they were “blocking traffic.”

Isa Masatsugu, the only defendant found guilty in lower court trials, expressed his determination to continue fighting in the Supreme Court, saying, “I cannot allow the state to sue citizens who joined the protest with a desire to protect their peaceful lives.”

Kodama Misae, a 29-year-old female participant, said, “When I saw the video footage submitted by the state as evidence of the ‘obstruction,’ I was really surprised that the protesters were accused of committing a crime because of such a minor skirmish. They just want to protect their families from danger.”

Related past article:
> Okinawa investigates US helipad construction site in Takae [February 14, 2013]
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