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Koreans Join G8 Protest

Date Posted: 2000-07-21

An environmental activist group is arriving in Naha today from Seoul to protest US military toxic dumping. Green Korea United is planning to take part in a rally of anti-war and anti-US base activists during the G8 Summit and says it wants an apology from President Clinton. The group uncovered the dumping of 20 gallons of formaldehyde last week into Seoul’s sewage system by the US Army. The chemical, which was supposed to be sent for disposal in Okinawa, was dumped by a US army mortuary. It flowed from Seoul’s sewage system into the Han River, the city’s main source of drinking water.

The group says representatives from 20 civic organizations are coming to Okinawa to take part in protests to coincide with the G 8 Summit. It is expecting to join an international group of 20,000 protestors, some of whose activities are already underway.

In Ginowan Seaside Park on the weekend 6,500 people came for a rally to protest the recent incidents which led to a cufew and alcohol ban imposed on the US military. The Okinawa Peace Activities Center, organisers of the rally, were expecting 5,000 to protest the molestation of a 14 year old girl by a drunken marine, a hit-and-run incident involving a Kadena airman and a fight between two marines and a taxi driver.

OPAC is one of the groups appealing for 25,000 people to encircle the Kadena air base today. Other groups taking part in the rally were the Council to Oppose the Sea-based Heliport, the Anti-war Military Landowners’ Association, the Womens’ Group Opposed to Military Bases and the Japan Trade Union Confederation. They formed a resolution demanding that the US military in Okinawa take immediate action to tighten discipline among its troops and to speed up the reduction of military bases on Okinawa.

Mayor of Naha, Kosei Oyadomari, spoke at the rally of the great fear caused by the recent incidents. “The cause of the troubles is the presence of military bases. We demand the reduction and eventual removal of military bases in Okinawa” he said. Other speakers included former Governor Ota, an outspoken opponent of the bases, the mayors of five towns and five members of Japan’s Parliament.

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