Monday, June 30, 2008

The summit of the G8 countries has begun at Lake Toya, Japan, and the protests against this gathering of the world's ruling class have begun as well. The following update is from today's A-Infos website. Further links are given in the body of this message.
Japan, Two of Many Updates on the G8 Protests!
Press Release June 27 2008
---- * Japan: International Resistance against the 2008 G8 summit has begun
---- * Camps, demonstrations, action days
---- * Police try to link protests to terrorism and are denying people entry into Japan
---- The protests against the 2008 G8 summit have begun. On Thursday a demonstration took place in Kyoto against the G8 foreign ministers meeting. There are three protests camps in Sapporo, the nearest town to Lake Toya, where the G8 summit will take place from July 7-9. Alternative media centres in Sapporo and Tokyo have been set up and a network of critical lawyers is ready to support demonstrators. Events, conferences and demonstrations are scheduled for the coming week. Many activists from around the world have travelled to Japan, amongst them anarchist and trade union groups from other Asian countries.
A network of NGOs will be lobbying the G8 to alter their political course. The "G8 Action Network" rejects the G8 as illegitimate and groups from this network have organised an "Anti-G8 Tokyo Sound Demonstration" this Sunday. The major international anti-capitalist conference, the "Counter-G8 International Forum" starts on Monday in Tokyo and Hokkaido. As has been the case in the past, many of the groups and organisations are participating in joint mobilisations despite their different positions.
Meanwhile, the police are attempting to delegitimate and divide the movement. More than 40 people were arrested two weeks ago, and squats have been searched. Following a raid on a trade union office in the working class neighbourhood Kamagasaki in Osaka, confrontations with police ensued which lasted for a number of days.
Since Tuesday the controls at the Narita International Airport in Tokyo have been stepped up. Foreigners have been questioned and searched for up to 12 hours. Some have been asked to provide detailed plans of their activities for each day of their stay. In spring this year, the Japanese Government changed the requirements for entry into the country.
Already last August, the German Federal Police (BKA) provided the Japanese investigation authorities with information on the networks and coalitions that participated in the anti- G8 protests in Heiligendamm in 2007. Japanese police travelled to Berlin to learn about measures against summit protests. The BKA'a president Mr Ziercke promised to continue to provide "all relevant data".
During the 2007 G8 summit protests the German police compiled an extensive database with photos and fingerprints, which presumably includes all 1.800 people who were arrested during the protests. Although only a very small number of them were actually convicted of anything this data has not been destroyed. Normally, inclusion in such a database is sufficient to be denied entry into a country during a summit meeting.
Trade unionists of the Korean "Confederation of Trade Unions" have been issued a blanket entry denial. Also the Italian philosopher and activist Toni Negri has been denied entry. Only yesterday two media activists of the Hong Kong collective "In-Media" were arrested at the airport.
The police has issued a number of posters 'warning' the Japanese public about the protests by comparing them to the London 7/7 bombings in 2005. One of the posters depicts a demolished London bus next to a photo of a burnt out car in Rostock. The public is being asked to report suspicious persons directly to the police. Hotels across Japan have been instructed to send photocopies of all passports of foreign guests to the police.
In the coming week there will be protests against the G8 summit worldwide, including in France, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Spain and the Basque Country.
* Police poster campaign:
MEDIA report:
Japan anti-G8 summit protesters scuffle with police
Anti-G8 summit protesters danced to blaring music and marched down the streets of Tokyo in heavy rain on Sunday, accusing the Group of Eight rich nations of causing poverty and world instability. The protests, which have become a fixture at Group of Eight summits, came as Japan tightened security ahead of this year's July 7-9 gathering in Hokkaido, northern Japan.
Two separate rallies in the nation's capital gathered over 1,000 people, including anti-capitalists, labour union members and protesters from abroad, such as Spain and South Korea.
Security was heavy with hundreds of anti-riot police guarding the streets as protesters walked down Tokyo's central shopping districts, carrying signs proclaiming various agendas such as "shut down G8 summit" and "G8=hunger".
Some protesters scuffled with the police. Japanese broadcaster TV Asahi said two people were arrested. Police could not confirm the report.
"Issues like environmental destruction and poverty in Africa, these are all caused by the G8 governments," said Yu Ando, a 31-year-old working for a municipal government in western Japan.
"I can't stand that they are proclaiming to solve these issues."
For the summit at Lake Toya, about 760 km (470 miles) north of Tokyo, domestic and international NGOs such as Oxfam plan to protest a range of topics including globalisation, the food crisis and wars.
Protests are expected near the summit venue -- where protesters are expected to gather at three camp sites -- as well as in Tokyo and Sapporo, capital of Hokkaido.
But tight security and the sheer cost of travel to the vicinity of the remote summit site could dampen turnout.
Human rights lawyers have said Japanese immigration authorities are making it tough for some activists to get visas by complicating the application process, and media reports said some activists were detained for hours at immigration.
At last year's G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, an estimated 30,000 protesters flocked to the area and entered a restricted zone set up for the summit, as well as blocking land routes into the area.
At Lake Toya, leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States will discuss soaring food and oil prices, along with climate change and African development. Japan has also invited eight other nations, including Brazil, China and India, to hold talks on climate change on the sidelines.

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