[Hpn] Homeless removed from park as World Exposition approaches
William C. Tinker
Mon, 24 Jan 2005 05:06:19 -0500
Homeless removed from park in Japan as World Exposition approaches??
Eight homeless people living in a downtown Nagoya park were ordered to leave
on Monday _ a move made to beautify the city before the 2005 World
Exposition opens in March, a rights group said.
More than 500 officials and security guards surrounded the makeshift tents
demanding the homeless living there to dismantle their camp. The squatters
and about 50 supporters shouted protests. Nobody was injured or arrested.
The eight were the last of about 250 squatters who had occupied the park.
Most left after the city ordered them out in October because of planned
maintenance work, city official Nobuo Yamanaka said.
He denied they were removed because of the 2005 World Exposition beginning
on March 25.
"We have to do maintenance work like trim the trees in that part of the
park," Yamanaka said. "It had nothing to do with the Expo."
But one human rights group disagreed. "Judging from the timing, it's nothing
else but preparation for the Expo," said Ryohei Otake, an activist helping
the homeless in Nagoya. "It's a serious human rights violation."
Two of the eight removed on Monday have agreed to relocate to a nearby
shelter, while the other six don't know where they will go next, Otake said.
About 1,420 people live in parks and streets in Nagoya. Some 200 reside in
two city-run shelters.
The Expo will be held near Nagoya, some 270 kilometers (170 miles) west of
Tokyo in Aichi prefecture (state), featuring exhibits from 120 countries.
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