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Anti-G8 activists: Protest is oppressed

[Toyoura Camp Press Group]

Press release July 7th 2008

  • Tuesday 8am – Action at Toyoura camp

Tomorrow (Tuesday) at 8 am, a march will start at Toyoura camp, heading to the direction of the G8 summit. Further details will be given at 7.45am at Toyoura camp gate.

Today at noon, a group of 50 Japanese and international activists walked out of the Toyoura camp to the train station to protest the G8 Summit and express solidarity for three anti-G8 activists who were arrested on July 5th. One kilometer away from the camp, they were stopped by over a hundred police. Police told demonstrators that the walk was an unregistered protest. The activists verbally asserted their rights to walk to the train station, but they were eventually forced to turn back.

The protesters are now staying in 3 different camps, surrounding Lake Toya: Toyoura, Soubetu and Date. About 400 activists are staying in Camp Toyoura, the biggest of the three, including most of the international activists.

Melissa Cohen, a British member of the activist Legal Team that is providing support for activists during the G8 Summit said today: “For those of us who are used to European contexts, it is hard to accept the level of repression we are confronting here. Here people are in danger of guilt by association. This creates a highly repressive environment and makes it very hard for social movements to fulfill their democratic function.”

Lisa Suzuta, 35, a Japanese feminist activist said “A lot of us feel anxious, nervous. If my friends get arrested, they will be heavily interrogated, even at nighttime. Constant interrogation and intimidation for 23 days without trial is very hard to go through, and it’s a common practice here. It’s almost like torture. Also the pressure on the family is very hard to accept, house searches at parents’ houses even though they are not involved, and the shame to the neighbors.”

“In Japan, the undemocratic character of the G8 is clearly illustrated through the extreme repressive measures used towards demonstrators, leaving no space for any critical or creative protest,” said Ingrid Beher, a 42 year-old German activist. “The creation of constant fear inside the citizens of Japan is one way of keeping this system in place”.

Source: email