Hundreds of Japanese protesters have staged a rally in Tokyo against the US military presence in their country, as they mark the first anniversary of the murder of a local woman by a US Marine.
Protesters marched on the streets of the Japanese capital on Saturday, calling for the removal of US military bases from the island prefecture of Okinawa.
The demonstration also marked the murder of Rina Shimabukuro by a US Marine in Okinawa in April 2016, when the 20-year-old victim, who worked at the base, was raped, struck in the head, and stabbed on her way back home.
US Marine Kenneth Franklin Gadson, 32, later admitted to the murder. The case triggered mass protests across Japan.
More than half of the 47,000 US military forces in Japan are stationed in Okinawa.
Okinawa has become known as a source of enduring concern for the Japanese people. Pacifist inclinations as well as security and safety concerns have prompted the Japanese to protest against the US military presence in Japan from time to time.
Multiple cases of misconduct by US forces have also raised anti-American sentiment among the islanders.
Back in 2013, two American sailors admitted to raping a woman in Okinawa in the previous year in a case that sparked massive protests.
In 1995, the abduction and rape of a 12-year-old girl by three US servicemen also triggered huge protests, prompting Washington to pledge efforts to strengthen troop discipline to prevent such crimes and reduce US footprint on the island.
An open-ended mass hunger strike by Palestinians to draw the world’s attention to harsh conditions at Israeli prisons has entered its second week, with some of those refusing food experiencing health decline.
The media committee of the hunger strike, dubbed the Freedom and Dignity Strike, said that several of the hunger-striking inmates had lost 10 kilograms of their weight, the Palestinian Ma’an news agency reported on Sunday.
A number of the hunger strikers held in the Israeli Ofer prison are suffering from low blood pressure, severe headaches as well as stomach and joint problems, the report added.
It further noted that the Israeli authorities do not allow the Palestinian prisoners to drink cool water and instead force them to drink warm water.
On Sunday, Palestinian churches were expected to ring bells in solidarity with the hunger strikers.
The long-planned mass strike, which is led by a jailed leader of the Fatah Movement, Marwan Barghouti, began on April 17.
The strike initially began with 1,500 prisoners, but now some 2,000 people are believed to be refusing food to denounce the inhumane treatment of the Palestinians held in Israeli jails.
According to figures provided by the Palestinian prisoners’ rights group Addameer in January, 6,500 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli jails, 536 of them arbitrarily.
Palestinian prisoners have continuously resorted to open-ended hunger strikes in an attempt to voice their outrage at the so-called administrative detention, which is a form of imprisonment without trial or charge that allows Israel to incarcerate Palestinians for up to six months,
Palestinian detainees complain that they have been subjected to assault and torture at Israeli prisons.
A plot by the Takfiri terror group of Daesh to copy in Iraq an alleged chemical strike in northeastern Syria in April and pin it on Iraqi security forces has been nipped in the bud.
Iraq’s al-Sumariah news network reported the development on Saturday, citing an unnamed security source.
The source said the terrorists had been arrested in the east of the northern Iraq city of Mosul in possession of toxic materials used in manufacturing chemical weapons and explosives.
They confessed to have received orders from their higher-ups to carry out gas attacks against the civilians fleeing them, the source said, adding the incidents were supposed to be caught on camera in such a way that would portray Iraqi forces as the perpetrators.
The terrorists said the entire scenario had been planned to mirror an alleged gas attack in the northeastern Syria Idlib Province that claimed dozens of civilians on April 4, he noted.
Blaming Damascus for the attack, the United States later carried out a missile strike against the southeastern part of the western Syria city of Homs, causing some 15 fatalities, including civilians.
The missile barrage came either before a fact-finding investigation into the circumstances surrounding the alleged gas attack, or a United Nations Security Council mandate.
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Russia, a Syria ally, laid into the United States for the attack, saying it had seriously damaged Russo-American ties. It rescinded a bilateral pact aimed at preventing the Russian and American aircraft from clashing over Syria, and also vowed to boost the Arab country’s defenses.
Daesh has in the past used chlorine gas and other toxic agents against Iraqi security forces and civilians in Mosul. The group, which has called Mosul its so-called headquarters in the city, has already lost half of it to Iraqi forces and is increasingly losing grip over the rest.
Terrorists have also been documented, time and again, deploying the agents against the Syrian people and military. The West and its associated media outlets keep incriminating the Syrian government and military in alleged application and possession of such weaponry, while Damascus has fully handed over its chemical arms stockpiles in a UN-monitored process.