CODEPINK Will Hold Peace Vigil Outside Union Station to Raise Awareness About U.S. Soldiers’ Crimes Against Okinawan Women

Vigil to Coincide with President Obama’s Visit, Okinawan Governor’s Request to Meet

Contact: Alice Kurima Newberry, CODEPINK DC, alice@codepink.org
Sam Ritchie, CODEPINK Communications Director, sam@codepink.org

WASHINGTON, May 24, 2016 – CODEPINK will gather this Thursday, May 26, 2016, outside of Union Station in Washington D.C. to hold a silent vigil in protest of the U.S. military’s ongoing presence in Okinawa, Japan, and the crimes that U.S. military personnel have been committing against the island’s women for more than 70 years. The peace vigil will be held in silence to reflect the silence felt by women around the world because of violence perpetrated by staff of U.S. military bases in the countries they occupy.

On April 28, a former U.S. Marine and current civilian employee of the U.S. military base in Okinawa raped and murdered a 20-year-old Okinawan woman named Rina Shimabukuro. Kenneth Franklin Shinzato confessed to the crimes on Saturday, just days ahead of President Obama’s visit to Japan, prompting Okinawan Governor Takeshi Onaga to request a meeting with the President to discuss the violence committed by Americans working at the base.

Okinawa houses about two-thirds of the 50,000 U.S. troops currently stationed in Japan, and a large majority of Okinawans have opposed the bases’ continued presence in their homeland, due mostly to the high frequency of sexually violent crimes perpetrated by base personnel against Okinawan women.

The vigil will honor the memory of Rina Shimabukuro and all the women who for over 70 years have been subjected to the horrors of sexual violence committed by Americans occupying Okinawa.

WHEN: Thursday, May 26 at 5:30 PM
WHERE: Union Station, Washington, D.C., across from the Old Post Office
WHAT: A die-in and silent vigil for Okinawan women who have experienced violence due to the U.S. military base in their homeland, as well as all women, children, and families worldwide who have been affected by U.S. military imperialism.
VISUALS: Protesters in bloody clothes, wearing signs.

Vigil organizers are available for interviews. Contact Alice Kurima Newberry at alice@codepink.org or 202-248-2093.

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