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Hiroshima, May 22 – As more protesters took to the streets, G7 nations wrapped up their three-day gathering here, vowing to escalate sanctions against Russia amid the Ukraine crisis.
Following days of protests, hundreds of demonstrators from home and abroad on Sunday rallied against the G7 leaders’ communique and other documents adopted by the summit in Hiroshima, a city once devasted by US atomic bombing during World War II, Xinhua news agency reported.
Placards and banners that read “No War-themed Conference,” “Hands off on Ukraine,” and “No to Japan-US military alliance” were spotted in Fukuromachi Park, where the protesters were gathering on Sunday morning, not far from the Peace Memorial Park that was shut due to the summit leaders’ visit.
Chanting slogans such as “No to War” and “Smash the G7 Hiroshima Summit,” they rallied along the main streets in Hiroshima, crowded by hundreds of riot police officers. They ran into physical conflict with the police in a downtown high street, where one of the protesters was arrested, but continued with the rally minutes later.
“To summarise, it is never a peaceful summit,” Ryo Miyahara, head of a Hiroshima citizens’ group and the protest’s organizer, told Xinhua at the demonstration site.
Several protesters, in their public speeches during Sunday’s protest, accused the G7 Hiroshima Summit of being a war-themed conference sponsored by the US-promoted hegemonism in its essence, and that the Japanese government is ruthlessly trampling on the views of atomic bombing victims and local residents by holding such a meeting in Hiroshima.
“We will not tolerate such a summit,” they added.
While vowing to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes,” in the final joint statement, the G7 nations, with the US taking the lead, announced specific measures to sanction Russia in a standalone statement on Ukraine on Friday, prior to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s in-person visit starting Saturday.
US President Joe Biden, on Sunday evening, announced a new package of military aid to Ukraine worth $375 million after Biden and Zelensky met on the sidelines of the G7 summit.
The G7 comprises the US, Britain, Italy, France, Germany, Canada and Japan.
Leaders from South Korea, Brazil, Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, Comoros, Cook Islands and some international organisations were invited to the three-day gathering.