Japanese police have demolished the last of the protest towers erected by students to obstruct the opening of the new International airport for Tokyo at Narita, some miles outside the capital.
Japanese police have demolished the last of the protest towers erected by students to obstruct the opening of the new International airport for Tokyo at Narita, some miles outside the capital. It is due to open next month. Police pulled down the tower on Wednesday (8 February) after a two-day siege, during which 10 policemen were injured as they battled left-wing demonstrators, and 49 students were arrested.
SYNOPSIS: The battle for the 100-foot (32 metre) tower lasted more than 40 hours. Demonstrators had installed themselves at the top of the steel and concrete structure.
Opposition to the airport came originally from local farmers who did not want their land used for runways. The government persuaded some to sell.
The persisting opponents were joined by radical students, who wanted a focus for anti-government feelings. Two other protest towers were torn down last year.
This tower remained, until the authorities decided to clear it. Some 800 police were involved. They finally stormed the concrete foundations after using tear gas to drive out the demonstrators, who had been pelting them with firebombs and stones. Four students clung to their lofty stronghold for almost two days, but finally surrendered after hours of battering from high-pressure hoses in the near-freezing weather.
Now the airport will open soon-barring new protests, and if international airlines can agree on landing fees.