On November 17, as part of the continuing actions of the anti-G8 movement against the 2008 G8 Summit, which is scheduled to be held in Lake Toya, Hokkaido, Japan next July, a group of protesters held a protest against the Italian Embassy in Tokyo.
This action was held in solidarity with the international protests against the extreme and unjust attacks waged by the state of Italy through demands of excessive punishment against 25 activists who were arrested during the 2001 G8 Genoa protests.
A massive demonstration took place in Genoa, Italy in 2001 against the G8 Summit. In the cases against the 25 activists who were arrested during the protests, the Italian state prosecution is demanding jail sentences between 6 and 16 years each, a total of 225 years. There has never been such high sentence demands for street clashes. On the other hand, the cases against police officers and Carabinieri (Italian military police force under direct control of the Ministry of Defense), charged in relation to the numerous injured and one dead due to excessive security methods, are being stalled in order to take advantage of the statute of limitation that will soon expire.
To protest against the unjust repression by the state, there was a call for an anti-repression demonstration on November 17 in Italy. Calls for solidarity actions were also heard in Germany, where massive demonstrations broke out during the G8 Rostock this year, and the wave of international solidarity had reached areas all over the world, including Japan, the host country for next year’s G8 Summit. A group of protesters formed “NO G8/Anti-repression Solidarity Action”and responded to the call for international solidarity actions.
To The Italian Embassy
The group of protesters of the “NO G8/Anti-repression Solidarity Action” headed to the Italian Embassy located in Minato-ku (district), Tokyo, having informed the embassy staff in advance that they will be lodging a protest. As soon as they arrived at the embassy, they immediately started the protest. The embassy staff held a cautious stance and started to film the protesters with a video camera from inside the embassy building. After quite a while, four embassy staff came out of the building. Then the protesters started to lodge the protest and handed the staff a letter of protest addressed to the Ambassador to Japan, Mario Bova and Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy, Romano Prodi. The embassy staff received the letter of protest.
Two protesters detained by the police
At the same time, a little while after the protest started, a local police officer on bicycle appeared and started questioning the protesters about their action. Then, a police car appeared in great state. After finishing the protest, they left the Italian Embassy but the police officers who were following them blocked their way. They did so despite the fact that they were walking on public roads and when they were even on their way home.
The police asked the protesters to identify themselves, on the pretext of “police questioning”. They responded by demanding to provide the legal basis for this “police questioning”, but obviously the police officers disregarded the protesters’ demand. Eventually, the police detained two protesters for about one hour without any legal basis.
The fight against all forms of repression continues
What should be noted is method of repression inflicted by the Italian Embassy and the Japanese police.
First of all, it’s obvious that the embassy staff called the police because police officers arrived soon after the protest started. The protest group informed the embassy staff beforehand that they were going to lodge a protest and did so in an orderly manner. Despite this, the manner in which the Italian Embassy tried to get rid of the protesters by using police force is exactly the attitude of the Italian government towards the anti G8 movement.
Secondly, responding to a “police questioning” carried out by the police officers is based on voluntary will and has no legal basis whatsoever to force one to answer questions. “Police questioning” is not limited to a protest situation and can be seen anywhere on the streets. However, it this is none other than a “forced detention” based solely on the police officer’s interest.
We assume that the intent of the government and the police to suppress the movement against the G8 does not differ, whether it be Italy or Germany or Japan. However we can not condone this kind of unjust and illegal obstruction by the police. We commit ourselves to smash the G8 Lake Toya next year, and to keep up the fight against all forms of repression.
NO G8/Anti-repression Solidarity Action