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Japan anti-G8 mobilization: Protests and Preparations. Update 29 june 2008.

This week has seen three days of protest against the G8, starting in Kyoto
with two days of resistance to the Foreign ministers’ meeting and
culminating today with the Tokyo day of action against the G8.

Today, roughly 500-700 people took part in a heavily policed march through
the Shinjuku neighbourhood of central Tokyo. The police were heavy handed
and outnumbered protesters at least 2 to 1. There were three types of
police. Traffic police, who mitigated between the demo and
pedestrians/traffic; riot police who surrounded the demo the whole time
and flanked the whole length of the demo from start to finish, and the
public service police who wandered around taking notes and pictures. Many
more police were stationed nearby in vans and full riot gear, and two vans
of riot police followed behind the demo.

Bild: Plakat

The Public Service Police, also called the ‘secret police’, (who are not
undercover because they are SO obvious and not pretending to be anything
other than what they are, but who are plainclothes police, and who
according to a lawyer from the legal team, do not have the power of
arrest, but only surveillance – write down observations, take pictures and
generally harrass people) were also present en masse, with about twenty at
every corner and on each street surrounding the starting point of the
demonstration in Kashiwagi park. They also marched along side the
demonstration on the pavement.

Despite the excessive police presence, the demonstration went fluently
with no arrests and no major incidents. But the police were constantly
pushing the participants on the outside and at the back of the
demonstration getting them to move over or move faster. At times this was
rather aggressive. Due to the police pushing from the side, the demo was
often forced into being no more that a couple meters wide and created a
rather claustrophic atmosphere to which, this time, no one rebelled.

At the march there was a small black bloc and a large puppet bloc. But
neither were that visible among so many police.

After the demo the police dispersed much faster than the demonstrators.
The demonstrators styed in Kashiwagi park, where some activists were also
distributing food.

Impressions of the demonstration seem to be mixed. Everyone is glad it
went off without a hitch and that there were no arrests, but the policing
was unnecessarily excessive and many people felt it was all far too
controlled an mechanized. The police also issued 6 warnings to the
deonstration, even though there were no incidents. Normally even a more
difficult democtration only receives one or two warnings.

The demonstration of the Revolutionary communist league which was
happening simultaneously, had four arrests and only two warnings
(according to a lawyer from an independent law firm that often supports
activists called – Kyuen Renraku Centre)


The rest of the preparations are carrying on and becoming more and more
concrete. The camp in Sapporo has now become an elementary school. The
other two camps finalized the flyers and many of the last details this
past Wednesday. Discussions have finally started about decision-making in
the camps and the supply truck for the kitchen and food collective left
for Sapporo on Friday.

The action plans are also more or less finalised. There will be a march
every morning from the Toyoura camp at 7am (to be verified) to the town,
which the orgnizers estimate as a 6 hour march. At the end point of the
march there will be busses to pick up the demonstratores and take them
back to the camp. This is to avoid that people make their own way back and
risk getting arrested after the demonstration.

There will also be a big mobilization estimated at 10,000 people on July
5th in Sapporo.

Tonight we had the opening reception for the Counter G8 International
Forum which starts in Tokyo tomorrow(today now). The schedule for the
international Forum tomorrow is as follows: 13-15h: three different panel
discussions: 1. The public or the common? – summit and the universities
without conditions for tomorrow. 2. conditions of solidarity in the nation
of zombies – global justice movement, singularity and the multitude. 3.
Autonomous media multiply!. 15-17h: 1. Precarity Creates, 2. Toward
Anti-capitalist Theory of capitalism, 3. Debates around the diversity of
tactics. 18.30-20.30h: Globalization and the possibility of Oppositional

On Tuesday, the discussions from 18:30 – 20:30 will be about 1. the future
of plenetary organization, 2. wht has happened in akihabara (the
underground university of tokyo), 3. anti-war, anti-base – resistance
against militarism; 4. Autonomia and the media movement

What might be important for people abroad to know is that the camp working
group here (and I am sure others too) are severely in debt and could
really use donations. Also, if there are any legal problems for activists
here there is no free legal aid, so networks all over might need to
prepare some fundraising.

Harrassement at immigration has continued, but it is really important to
stress not just the harassment, but also the fact that everyone did
eventually get into the country, so if people are thinking of coming, do
come, don’t be discouraged. we need you here! Don’t let them scare you!

Source: email