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Filipinos stage protest demanding soldier’s arrest

Date Posted: 2008-03-05

Rape allegations against an Okinawa-based soldier have spilled over to Tokyo, where Filipino demonstrators staged a protest outside the U.S. Embassy to demand the soldier be arrested.
The soldier is being detained on Okinawa while investigators review accusations he raped the Filipina woman at an Okinawa City hotel over the President’s Day holiday weekend last month. The incident was reported to police after she went to a hospital for treatment after the incident.
Okinawa’s Prefecture Police chief has said the suspect has been voluntarily speaking with them, and that his officers are teamed with American investigators to get details. Hachiro Tokutsu says he expects to take action in the case soon.
About 30 demonstrators outside the U.S. Embassy chanted “U.S. imperialists, No. 1 terrorists”, then burned a U.S. flag. Officials say several protesters were blocked by riot police guarding the American Embassy. The Philippine Foreign Undersecretary says the case is still being investigated. Esteban Conejos says the woman who was reportedly raped has been taken into protective custody by the Philippine Embassy.
The leftwing Filippine alliance group Bayan organized the U.S. Embassy protest. Rita Baua, a group spokeswoman, says “we are appalled and indignant that U.S. troops are in the Philippines, in Okinawa and in Japan and elsewhere where they commit these acts with impunity.”
An immediate apology from the U.S. government is being demanded by Maita Santiago, an official with Migrante International, a migrant workrs’ group in Japan. Santiago called the rape “the latest atrocity committed against our nation’s dignity.”

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