The area in which this happened is an area with a long history of working class struggle and solidarity. In 1990 a riot erupted there that lasted 4 days and later in the 90’s there was more rioting. However people say that this is the first militant struggle of this nature against police and state repression here since the mid 90’s.
Day labourers in Japan, as everywhere, don’t know if they have a job from one day to the next and so are very open to exploitation from Yakuza (the Japanese mafia) and other rich bosses.
On Saturday by 6pm at least 3 or 4 hundred people were surrounding the police station, denouncing the police over a loudspeaker, making demands that the people inside have access to lawyers, and that an apology and compensation be given.
Most of the people were day labourers, men over 40.
Riot police were outside the entrance to the station, barricading the gate, and also police surveillance from above- video and photographs being taken. There was a 2 hour stand off, the police being attacked with bottles, rubbish and metal bars.
Many obvious plain clothes cops are in the area, one was severely beaten against a wall by a huge crowd of people.
Yakuza drive through the crowd, the anger briefly turning away from the police and towards them.
(we do not know what happened during the next 2 hours- the tension was rising as it became dark.)
By around 10pm the area directly in front of the station had been cleared, with lines of riot police with 2 water cannons and a cherrypicker with video surveillance protecting the station. By this time there was a wider range of people, including many more young people, and people who have traveled to come and support.
For hours the people are throwing many stones and bottles, with the police using water cannons to temporarily move back the crowd. Barricades are built from bicycles and traffic cones. At this point the demonstration was very much isolated to one side of the police station, with riot police and secret police occasionally blocking off the road behind the demonstrators, however there was no move to mass arrest or make a serious move to clear the road.
At the point where we left the demo there was very much a stalemate happening with people throwing bricks and bottles at the police, the police then clearing the road with the water cannon, and it starting all over again.
At this point we are unclear of the number of arrests from last night, although we will try to update the information.
It seems more then likely that the trouble will continue tonight, as peoples anger is far from abated.
Some folks far from home
Check Indymedia and the londonfete website for updates.