Two arrested at Sunday’s Henoko demonstration
According to organizers, some 2,800 people took part in a demonstration Sunday held in front of Camp Schwab Gate 1 in Henoko, Nago, to oppose the construction of a replacement facility to MCAS Futenma.
During the demonstration, Japanese security guards of the U.S. military temporarily detained two protesters in front of the gate. They were later handed over to the Okinawa Prefectural Police, who arrested the two. One of them is 62-year-old Hiroji Yamashiro, the chairman of Okinawa Heiwa Undo Center (Peace Movement Center), who was arrested on suspicion of violating the Act on Special Measures Concerning Criminal Cases. This is the first case of someone being arrested on the basis of the act connected to the Henoko demonstrations at Camp Schwab.
The incident happened Sunday about 9 a.m. in front of the gate. The arrest warrant of the two states trespassing into the base without reasonable justification as the reason for their arrest. Witnesses who took part in protest activities at the site, allege Japanese security guards grabbed Yamashiro’s legs from behind and dragged him into the base when he had been instructing a group of about 40 protesters to back off to behind a yellow line that has been painted on the road to separate the area where participants can protest and the base facility.
The second arrested man reportedly tried to pull Yamashiro back from the guards but he too was grabbed in the same way as Yamashiro, and pulled into the base.
Both were handcuffed with their hands behind their back, and held for about four hours on base. They were handed over to Nago Police at about 1 p.m. Other protesters say that the two were arrested on purpose and claim it was done with a malicious intent.