A large crowd gathered in front of the office of the Prime Minister in urgent protest of tomorrow’s cabinet decision to change the interpretation of Article 9 of the constitution to allow for the exercise of collective self-defense. Matching the beat of the drums, people chanted, “Don’t destroy the Constitution” and “Anti-war”. A similar protest will be carried out tomorrow.
The protest was scheduled to start at 6:30pm on June 30th. People began arriving at 4:30 and the protest began at 5:30, an hour ahead of time. Participants held placards bearing the messages, “No Fascism”, “Don’t Reinterpret the Constitution”, “Absolutely Opposed to the Cabinet Decision”, and other similar variants as they shouted “Abe, Resign!” and “Protect the Constitution!”
“I came with my grandchildren in mind. I didn’t want to regret not doing anything,” said a 70-year old man who rushed in by bus from Komagane, Nagano this morning to take part in the protest. Mutō Ruiko, who also came in by bus from Miharu, Fukushima, says “It’s unacceptable that our lives be endangered by this cabinet decision. They shouldn’t be focusing on sending soldiers overseas before dealing with the nuclear power plant accident.”
Organizers estimated there were around 10,000 participants present. The crowd that assembled in front of the Prime Minister’s office was charged with angry energy, and there were a significant number of young people present.
During the protest, a bulge of people formed momentarily, on the verge of blocking off the streets. A large number of police were mobilized to keep the crowd near the sidewalk, surrounding protesters with a wall of officers two-people deep. The protest lasted until midnight.