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Okinawan groups demonstrate against war in Iraq

Date Posted: 2003-02-22

Anti-war protesters took to Okinawa streets last Saturday, joining hundreds of thousands of others around the world. Members of 33 different citizens’ groups held a demonstration in Okinawa City, protesting the looming war in Iraq. The groups first held a protest meeting at Okinawa City baseball stadium, and then marched to Kadena Air Base Gate 2 carrying signs and chanting war-denouncing slogans.

The groups had also printed English-language pamphlets that they distributed to Gate 2 Street shops to be handed to Americans. The demonstration was timed to coincide with the world-wide demonstrations against proposed military action targeting Saddam Hussein’s regime in Iraq.

Motohira Ishikawa, the chairman of the MCAS Futenma Action Committee, suspects that the U.S. Military in Okinawa is also gearing up to the war. “I have observed much more activity in Futenma than before. Helicopters are flying and war planes are going back and forth. Local residents are getting very worried about this,” Ishikawa said.

At the same time, Shokichi Kina, a well-known Okinawan musician and peace activist was holding a concert in the Iraqi National Theater in Baghdad on Monday. He also participated in a demonstration there with members of several NGO groups visiting the city for the purpose.

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