March 23, 2008

Okinawa protest

Thousands demonstrated against the US military on the southern Japanese island of Okinawa on Sunday, following a string of incidents involving US personnel, including alleged rapes. Despite pouring rain and harsh wind, demonstrators took to the streets, raising their fists and shouting slogans in protest over the heavy US military presence on the island.

The rally was organised by local residents infuriated by the alleged rape of a 14-year-old girl by a US Marine last month. It was one of the largest demonstrations against the US military here since 1995, after three US servicemen gang-raped a 12-year-old, setting off a process to reduce the number of US troops stationed on Okinawa. Organisers, who had said they expected more than 10,000 people to turn up, estimated the crowd at 6,000.

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