Four Henoko demonstrators arrested for obstructing business
Nago and Okinawa Prefectural Police arrested four men on Tuesday on suspicion of forcible obstruction of business. The four are suspected of piling some 1,400 concrete blocks at the end of January in front of the gate of Camp Schwab in order to prevent truck carrying construction materials into the base.
According to police, 64-year-old Hiroji Yamashiro, the chairman of the Okinawa Peace Movement Center along with three other men is suspected of trying to stop the trucks from hauling materials intended for the construction of the replacement facility for MCAS Futenma. Investigators say that the men tried to stop the truck by standing in front of them as they tried to enter or exit the base, and the piled the blocks in front of the gate. He also is suspected of instructing other demonstrators to sit on the blocks.
Police investigating the incident searched for evidence in at least eight places, including the office of the Peace Movement Center in Naha City, the office of the Association against U.S. Military, and some tents in Henoko.
Demonstrators criticized the arrests claiming, “This is illegal oppression of the peace movement protesting the resuming the construction work at Henoko.”
In addition to Yamashiro, 66-year-old man from Ginoza Village, a 59-year-old mand from Nago, and another 40-year-old man from Nago were arrested.
This was the third time Yamashiro, the leader of the peace activists demonstrating at Henoko and Takae, has been arrested since October.