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Childish behavior disrupts Adultsí Day ceremony

Date Posted: 2002-01-17

Naha Cityís annual Adultsí Day ceremony, held at the city gymnasium on Sunday, was marred once again by violent and unruly behavior and clashes between police and participants. A number of the young people reveling in their official entry to adulthood harassed policemen and security personnel on duty at the festivities. Naha police arrested six 18- and 19-year-olds who had rammed protective barriers with a van, charging them with interfering in the execution of a public servantís duties. After crashing into the barriers, three of the youngsters were removed from their vehicle by police, while the other three attempted to prevent policemen from questioning the suspects by grabbing at their feet. The minors had insisted on observing the custom of bringing casks of sake to the festivities for their elders to crack open and drink. The tradition was banned, however, due to violent incidents that occurred at last yearís celebration.

Another youngster dressed in traditional hakama was also taken into custody when he disrupted traffic while riding a bicycle around an intersection and ignored an order issued by the police to cease his antics. Although alcohol was prohibited at the function, some attendees balked when ordered to leave their drinks in the gymnasiumís reception area. Others surreptitiously carried awamori into the auditorium and passed it around to friends. In addition, ignoring warnings to the contrary, several participants smuggled in firecrackers and set them off in the crowd. The atmosphere was tense even before police intervention as a result of clashes between cask-toting attendees and the eventís security personnel.

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