The G8 2008 took place in Hokkaido, Japan, from July 7th to July 9th. As in the past years, people from all over the world protested against this summit and the capitalist system it represents [Pics] both in Japan and in many places around the globe.
On Saturday the 5th of July, the International Day of Action Against the G8, there were protests worldwide against this year's G8 Summit. In Japan, around 5000 people took to the streets in Sapporo despite ongoing police repression [Photos | Videos 1 | 2 | 3 | 4] whilst hundreds of people had previously taken to the streets in Tokyo and Kyoto. International solidarity actions also took place in several cities, including Bilbao, Stuttgart [Video], Dordrecht, Nijmegen, Paris, Singapore, Berlin, Reykjavik and Lisbon.
Closer to home, a picket outside the Japanese embassy in London took place on Friday the 4th, and for Saturday the 5th, and despite previous harassment by the Metropolitan police, a London Fete Against the G8 was called by London No Borders and other groups to demonstrate in solidarity with the protests in Japan, for the Freedom of Movement, and against Fortress Europe. The Day of Action around the UK Borders Agency started with a Critical Mass bike ride from Brixton to Croydon, the nerve centre of the Home Office's UK Border Agency, where several protests unfolded [Report | Photos 1 | 2 | Video]
From Monday 7th to Wednesday 9th, further days of action and blockades continued around the Summit location next to the Lake Toya in Hokkaido [Videos 1 | 2 | 3] A final statement by international activists was issued on Wednesday 9th after hundreds of activists joined a march called by the Hokkaido's Ainu indigenous communities. This was the concluding event of ten days of anti-G8 protests in Japan. The Japanese 'No! G8 Legal Team' issued an international call for further solidarity actions during the week of blockades [Second Call]. In London, a daily NO!G8 cafe was organised at the Bowl Court Social Centre to coincide with the G8 mobilisations, showing daily footage from Japan, screening films, presentations and discussions.
Related Newswire Posts: End G8 Domination! | Challenge to the G8 Governments | G8 summit marked by impotence and division | James Hansen's Appeal to the G8 on Climate Change | No! G8 Japan Info Tour Comes to UK | An update on Japan G8 repression - 40 people arrested! | Repression and Revolt in the run up to G8 Japan | Interview with Japanese anti-G8 activist | Preparation for the Japanese anti-G8 movements in 2008 | Japanese Government to Keep ‘Hooligans’ Away from Summit
* 1 July (Tokyo) Counter G8 International Forum * 1-4 July (Sapporo) Themed Actions (Rally and March) o 1 July (Sapporo) Anti-military base/ anti-war o 2 July (Sapporo) Anti-WTO, privatization o 3 July (Sapporo) Anti-neo-liberalism o 4 July (Sapporo) Farmers’ day, day of AINU o 4 July (Sapporo) Action against Poverty, Precarious Labor and Social Exclusion * 3 July (Sapporo) Punks against G8 * 3 July (Sapporo) International Syposium on Military/Base and Women * 5 July (Sapporo) International Action Day * 5 July (Chitose) Airport Protest * 7-9 July (Lake Toya) Blocking the G8 * 6-8 July (Sapporo) Alternative Summit * 7th – 9 July (Lake Toya) Anarchist Football Championship at the camp site.
Tokyo - Arrests at the Marxist-Leninist March with pictures of Riot
police which is quite interesting!
IN GENERAL: There are more Subtitles now to the Videos on the "G8 Media
Video March Demonstration in Sapporo WITH english Subtitles !!!!
- Freedom for G8 Political Prisoners, March from Sobetsu Camp - 7th July:
- Demonstrators Walk to Toyako Lakeside - 7th July:
- Demonstration from Camp Site in Toyoura to Okishi - 7th July:
- G8: Demo in Sapporo - 5th July:
- Video of Journalist arrest, G8 Demo in Sapporo - 5th July:
- Stuttgart against G8 - 5th July:
- G8: Demo in Sapporo - 4th July:
- Berlin says G8 Funsai! (Smash G8!) - 4th July:
- Hokkaido : The Semi-Periphery of the Global North:
- G8 Japan: "On the way to Hokkaido 1 - Arrival and IRA":
- G8 Japan: "On the way to Hokkaido 2 - Noise in Narita":
- G8 Japan: “On the way to Hokkaido 3 - The Group of 8:
- G8 Japan: “On the way to Hokkaido 4 and 5 - Demos in Kyoto and Tokio Against the G8:
- G8 Japan: “On the way to Hokkaido 6 - Harassment in Sapporo:
- June 29th, Demonstration in Tokyo against the G8:
- June 26th, Demonstration in Kyoto against the G8:
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - 05.07.08. Police clash with a group of anti-G8 activists in Croydon, south London, England on Saturday 5th July 2008. Protesters congregated to protest against the UK Border Agency in Croydon as part of a world wide day of action against the G8 Summit in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. (Photos by Marc Vallée/marcvallee.co.uk) (c) Marc Vallée, 2008.
On Tuesday 8th we will be joined by US activist Lisa Fithian who will be talking about repression and politics of Japanes border control, as well as her experience in Japan before being told to leave by July 4 after being detaned for 11 hours. Lisa has been a community and labour organiser for 33 years, and is a steering committee member of United for Peace, has worked with the Common Ground collective in post-Katrina New Orleans, and the Justice for Janitors campaign, among many other organisations and campaigns. She is a member of the RANT collective.
On Wednesday 9th, the film "What would it mean to win?" by Oliver Ressler will be shown, followed by a discussion. The film is a documentary about last year's G8 protests in Heiligendamm. Interviews with various activists trigger a worthwhile debate concerning forms and strategies of protest, the assumed collectiveness of a "we", and the title question: What would it mean for the "the movement" to win?
Japan spent a record breaking $280 million on maintaining security at this year’s summit, over double the $130 million spent by German authorities last year. Police were shipped in from all over the country, as a total of 21,000 law enforcers descended on Japan’s most sparsely populated island. With an estimated total of 1,000 protesters attending the demonstrations at this year’s summit, the police presence was described by one demonstrator as “overkill and a waste of public money.”
Activists arriving in Japan to protest were targeted by immigration officials at Japan’s borders, with at least thirty people reported to be have been deported upon arrival, many of those from neighbouring South Korea. Others were subject to lengthy questioning, and held for as long as twenty hours, during which time they were locked in holding cells and deprived of their basic human rights. One activist, who was stopped at Tokyo airport after disembarking a flight from Hong Kong, commented, “Two friends and I were stopped by immigration officials at 7.30pm and were only released at 1pm the next day. During this time, we were held captive, refused food and prohibited from making any phone calls.”
Activists were keen to highlight the repressive nature of the Japanese legal system, which allows arrested individuals to be held by police for twenty-three days without charge, during which time their homes are often raided and families harassed. After police arrested four people at a rally in Sapporo on 5th July, the organisers of protest camps closer to the summit turned their attention to avoiding clashes with police. Many activists felt effective protest against the G8 was rendered impossible by heavy-handed policing and the threat of twenty-three-day imprisonment. One Spanish activist, who requested not to be named, said, “we have seen from the demo in Sapporo that the Japanese police will arrest peaceful protesters at random. People are aware that there is a genuine threat of spending time in prison for peacefully protesting in this country.“
On 7th July, a group of fifty protestors were blocked by a hundred and fifty police as they attempted to travel to a protest near Lake Toya. The protesters, mostly made up of foreign nationals, were making their way towards a train station close to Toyoura campsite, before their progress was abruptly halted. They were ordered to return to their campsite or face arrest, after a police spokesman declared their gathering illegal. The activists, incensed at not being allowed to access local public transport, told the press that this show of repression was a clear violation of their human right to protest. “We are bring held prisoners in our camp”, commented a French protester, “I have never experienced being stopped from travelling to a protest before. The repression in this country is insane.”
The majority of protestors that had travelled from to Japan for the demonstrations felt disappointed by the actions that took place over the three days of the summit, feeling that they fell well short of what was achieved in Germany last year. However, this year’s protests are being seen as a building block for young Japanese social movements, which will have learnt many lessons from the past few days. As one Japanese protester put it, “Although we recognise the frustration of many of the European activists, if you had told me four years ago that we would be able to get this many Japanese people on the streets and host an international protest camp, I do not think I would have believed you.”
The main issue to come out of this year’s summit protests is not in doubt. With deportations, harassment, roadblocks and other forms of state repression the order of the day, Japan has exposed its oppressive policy towards activists. The fact that the state’s right to hold arrestees for twenty-three days without charge has been cast into the world’s spotlight will further dent its reputation. These factors, coupled with the staggering amount of taxpayer’s money spent on repressing such a small number of protesters, have led to the Japanese government being left red-faced and out of pocket, with the protestors looking on to Italy 09.