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End of olympics 2020

It begins with a standoff between a protest organizer, a handful of participants, and a wall of police officers. The location of the planned protest having being blockaded, the demonstrators demand passage, but are met with polite but firm refusals. Neither party wanting tensions to hit a tipping point, the heat of the argument rises and falls in conspicuous waves. The entire protest will follow this pattern - a seemingly mutual understanding in place that violence is not a desired outcome.


After some back and forth the demonstrators decide to setup in their current position, within line-of-sight but quite some distance away from the Olympic Stadium. Signs appear on large square pieces of cardboard, numbers throng, and after negotiation the police reluctantly grant use of a small part of the otherwise empty road for the demo. The chants begin, calling for the end of the Olympics.


This end is being called for citing the impact it may have on the spread of COVID-19, the forced eviction/relocation of residents, the use of public assets to fund private developments, and the destruction of trees. According to a survey by Asahi Shimbun in May in Japan, 83% were against the Olympics being held this summer. Some are calling not just for the end of the Tokyo Olympics 2020, but for the Olympics to be put to bed entirely.


Despite respectable efforts by both sides, tensions peak as people are pushed into each other creating an impressively non-violent shoving match between police and protestors. Eventually it disburses and more police swarm in with traffic cones and rods, barricading the demonstrators on either side of the road.


On TVs around the world, performances, speeches and celebrations are taking place broadcasted from the largely empty stadium at the end of the road. Here on the streets, the Tokyo Olympics conclude to the tune of drums and tambourines, a surprisingly loud pairing of spoon and frying pan, and a chant that may have been without ears to fall upon.


August 8, 2021

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