Dozens of protesters staged a march against the Olympics in Tokyo on Friday (July 16), with just a week to go before the Games’ opening ceremony.
Protesters shouted slogans such as “no Olympics anywhere” and held banners and placards, one targeting visiting International Olympics Committee president Thomas Bach, read “stop genocide, Bach.”
The Tokyo Olympics, postponed from last year because of the pandemic, are due to run from July 23 to August 8. Most venues are to have no spectators, with officials urging the public to stay home and watch on television, depriving Japan of its hopes of pomp and spectacle at the Games. Nevertheless, protesters said even holding the Olympics without spectators has done little to assuage their worries.
“I’m worried. Obviously there are many people from different countries coming. I don’t hold them accountable but the Delta (variant) and other risks will rise so I clearly think we shouldn’t call it (the Olympics) off now,” said 65-year-old protester Yoshizo Watanabe.
Several athletes and staff working for the Olympics in Japan have been hit by COVID-19 cases. Tokyo reported 1,308 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday (July 15), its highest daily tally since late January.
(Production: Joseph Campbell)