Thousands of left wingers demonstrated at Japan's new Narita airport on Sunday (17 September) in support of local farmers and environmentalists who want it closed.
Thousands of left wingers demonstrated at Japan's new Narita airport on Sunday (17 September) in support of local farmers and environmentalists who want it closed. The farmer because of the agricultural land it has absorbed, and the environmentalists because of the additional pollution from noise and fumes.
SYNOPSIS: Twenty thousand demonstrators were expected for what was to be the final demonstration of a campaign that had been going on for one hundred days. Instead, only some seven and a half thousand people turned up. They first attended a rally near the airport where they listened to speeches.
Facing the demonstrators at the airport were some twelve thousand police armed with water cannons and dogs. Earlier protests have left six dead and resulted in hundreds of arrests. The airport, which has deeply offended the local people, was opened for operations last May.
Many years of opposition had held back completion of the two thousand, six hundred million US dollar airport. Harassment by demonstrators included an attack in March, when control tower equipment was destroyed.
In recent weeks radicals have intensified their campaign, with petrol bomb attacks on police and airport facilities. They have also cut communication links, rammed remotely controlled cars into police buildings, and tried to disrupt aircraft landings by flying tethered balloons near runways.
The police, for their part, stepped up raids on radical strongholds before Sunday's demonstration, confiscating weapons and petrol bombs. The trouble is likely to continue. Radical leaders announced a further three month campaign to immediately follow Sunday's demonstration.