Past Event Report
November 19, 2004
Worldwide Day of Protest Against the Japanese Dolphin Slaughter
Sea Shepherd led a Worldwide Protest Against the Slaughter of Dolphins in Taiji on November 19, 2004, at Japanese embassies and consulates around the world. Protesters collected signatures for an International Petition which we will be presenting to the Japanese Prime Minister and Minister of Fisheries.
We would like to thank all of the volunteers and other organizations who took part in this important day and helped to make it a resounding success. The Japanese government is now highly aware of the world's anger and disapproval with the continuing dolphin slaughters in Taiji, Futo and other places in Japan. We hope they will take this opportunity to acknowledge world opinion and stop the killing.
Vienna (Wein) - Karen Hundlinger
The International Day Of Protest had a heavy storm in Vienna, at the begin we were greeted by a downpour with sleet and everything prepared was about to fly away. Members of three local Austrian organisations, "VGT-Verein Gegen Tierfabriken", "Alliance For Nature", "Wiener Tierschutzverein" and activists joined the protest and really supported it. When the storm calmed down for a little while we could set up the protest and also take pictures. One big sign we had at the Wiener Ringstraße/Schottenring where lots of cars steadily pass by. The door of the embassy opened and they filmed our protest. We then in front of the door handed Mr. Urano from the Japanese Embassy the (copies) petitions and also the petitions (copies) signed by authorities and official representatives of nine local animal welfare/rights- and nature conservation organisations. The embassy again filmed it and Mr. Urano, a second secretary at administration agreed to pass on the petitions to the prime minister. We handed only a few brochures and flyers to passersby who hurried along in the storm and media was all busy reporting about storm damages and didn't show up. The next day I handed many brochures, flyers and info-sheets to interested people and passersby when I joined the VGT- anti-fur demonstration in Vienna and people all were outraged to hear about such brutal massacre of dolphins.
Austria is a small country, the embassy could see that all local Austrian animal welfare and nature conservation organisations who represent thousands of members in Austria all condemn that extremely cruel slaughter of 23 000 helpless dolphins in Japan and urge to stop it! The organisations also will spread information in Austria that such bloody atrocities against dolphins and whales are happening in Japan.
Brussels - Anne van Ingelgem
We had a good action in Brussels and were joined by Bite Back and their president Marianne, and Yvon Godfroid and other supporters from Dauphin Libre. Although we were filmed by the national TV and the largest commercial station, it was apparently a busy day for news and they didn't show us. However, that morning I was on national radio just before 9 AM many people heard the discussion, one newspaper had a whole page on the slaughter, and they mentioned our protest.
I want to thank all the participants. It was nearly freezing and it was snowing, but they made a great demonstration an collected many petition signatures. One of my "fishermen" blew on a whistle every time he stabbed the dolphin and it seemed as if the dolphin cried. It was very real.
Vancouver, BC - Steve Thompson
Our protest turned out to be quite effective. Approximately 15+ turned out for the demonstration. Yes, the numbers were low, about the same as last year, however, we had a determined group.
In all we received 160+ signatures on our petition. Unfortunately, the Japanese Consulate would not allow me to deliver it personally. Initially, they said they would provided I was accompanied by an RCMP Officer (what a brave group the Japanese are, they are willing to let their own beat-up and kill thousands of defenseless dolphins only to stick their necks in the sand when one individual wants to confront them).
Everything was agreed upon for the delivery to take place following the protest. I informed the RCMP officer "Jeff" (we got on quite well and ended-up on a first name basis) that it would take an extra 20 minutes following the demonstration for the photocopies of the petition list to be completed. Lauchlan stuck around (I gave him a ride home) and was going to accompany me up to the Consulate. We got within 10 feet of the elevators and a scrawny Japanese man came over and said we could not go up. I politely asked why and was told because the RCMP officer had left. I said that would not be necessary since I am a peaceful man and would not cause any trouble. Again he said I was not allowed to do this. I then asked if the Consulate owned the building to which the answer was of course no. In turn I said fine and that I was going to go up. I walked over to the elevator and pushed the button to go up, the elevator door opened and this Japanese version of "Arnold" (i.e.Diff'rent Strokes) started pushing me around! I recommend he not do this and in turn pushed him aside (he had the strength of a really mad lap-dog). Then security came over and I managed to explain my version of what happened. At some point in time I was presented with the threat of the police coming back to which I replied that I would actually like that then perhaps I could get my escort up to the Consulate. Shortly thereafter I agreed to leave. The security guard was a nice individual and we shook hands in the end.
Ottawa - Denise Taillon
I just got back from the protest in Ottawa. I was the only one protesting in front of the Japanese Empassy on Sussex St. in Ottawa. Shortly after my arrival at the Embassy, I saw a security guard on the roof top of the building reaching for his phone from his jacket and checking me out - looking at me while reporting to someone on the phone that I was demonstrating below him. Within 10 minutes, three Japanese embassy men dressed in their dark black suits came outside the secured gates and spoke to me. They said that they knew that I was protesting for Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. They were well aware of what I was doing. They asked me a few questions. I answered that I can not stand idle while these cruel actions are taking place in Taiji. I said I represent all the dolphin and whale lovers. They asked me where our office is in Ottawa. I said we do not have an established office here at the moment but that I am here of behalf of Sea Shepherd Conservation and ask that they please stop the cruel behavior against Dolphins in Taiji. I asked all three men if they liked dolphins. They said yes. I replied, "Well then please help us protect them. They are so beautiful and full of joy. Lets all respect and protect them for all mankind to love." We had a very peaceful calm conversation. Then they said I could leave now. It was only 12:00. I said I will leave at 2:00. At 2:00 I spoke to the embassy guard and he paged Mr Hamugchi. I wanted to give him my signed petition but he didn't want to take it.
Met some very interesting people. We are not alone in wanting to protect these beautiful dolphins. I really felt the support, even if I was all alone protesting in front of the embassy. Together we will be able to make a difference.
Curacao - Alex Cornelissen
The Sea Shepherd crew from our flagship the Farley Mowat joined in the worldwide day of protest against the slaughter of dolphins in Japan, by putting on a protest in front of the Japanese Consul in Curacao.
We got to the building where the honorary consul of Japan resides (he is also the director of one of the biggest banks on the island), which is in the center of Willemstad, around 2:00 pm. Charles and LInda where holding down the fort [at the ship], so there were seven of us at the demonstration. Adrian had made some flyers and we had found some Dutch Sea Shepherd brochures that, combined with the signs we had made and the uniformity of our crew T-shirts, secured a lot of attention. At first the security guards of the bank tried to make us leave (it's in the same building as the consul) but after I had a very friendly conversation with the consul himself, who was supportive of our action and who assured me he would pass on the message to the Japanese ambassador in the Netherlands, we could focus our attention on the people passing by. The local people were all very interested and supportive, some of the tourist suffered from the "No bad news, I'm on holiday" syndrome, but overall we all had a very good feeling afterwards. People started calling newspapers and a radio station on our behalf and we made it into three newspapers, one of which even came by the ship and interviewed me. Much to our joy we even made their frontpage the next day.
Here's a few lines from their article: "Sea Shepherd yesterday had a worldwide protest against the dolphindrives in Japan"
One of my quotes : "In Japan annually they gruesomely kill about 22,000 dolphins. Today we try to get the worlds attention for that. The Japanese government has to stop handing out permits to these fishermen."
Reports compiled by Sandra Guyomard En Français
Video clip of the Paris Protest (Windows Media 7.2M, ~3 minutes)
On November 19th 2004, around fifty people assembled near the Japanese Embassy to celebrate the International Day of Protests against Dolphin Slaughters in Japan, initiated by the Sea Shepherd, and joined by French associations Réseau-Cétacés, Nomades des Océans, SPA (French equivalent for RSPCA), and GRAAL, with the kind contribution of Univers-Nature, and Megaptera.
After the groups got together just after 2pm, the protest marches started under the vigilant supervision of local police forces. First of all, posters and flyers were given away to campaigners, while Stefane started reading the flyer aloud (with much difficulty due to the surrounding noise). Every time cars stopped at the traffic lights, volunteers rushed forward to display their boards illustrating the odious slaughter to the drivers.
"Stop the slaughter!," and other protest slogans were being chanted. By this point, we were located a few yards from the Japanese Embassy. As requested by some volunteers, we decided to get a bit closer to the Embassy, and finally got only a few feet away from the entrance. One member of the supervising police forces told us that the noise produced by the protest was "disturbing" the embassy!
A free-lance Japanese journalist specializing in environment and health issues joined us, and we answered her questions. At this moment, all the members of the protest were standing in front of the embassy, holding our signboards and shouting, more determined than ever!
After collecting the petitions at 4pm, we announced the breaking up of the crowd.. Simultaneously, we received a phone call from I-Television (Canal + Company), which seemed interested by the diffusion of images showing the
An information stand was set up after all. Liliane explains that "most of the passers-by seemed opposed to the dolphin slaughters, and that people had to queue up several times to sign the petition."
An information stand was held by some members from Réseau-Cétacés and Cyber-Nature, who distributed flyers and collected petitions. Lise DeFrance explained that, "because the Marineland (an aquarium with dolphins) was only 32 miles away from Nice, we also emphasized the terrible reality of dolphin captivity."
The local press, Nice Matin, was also present at the event.
On November 19th, Natacha, one of our members, arranged the distribution of flyers. A similar action was also set up at the city, on November 27th. Marie, Natacha, Stéphanie and Ludivine, joined by Émilie, Caroline, Céline, and Zorko took part and felt that: "... Everything went very well... People reacted positively. They seemed touched and shocked... Of course, there are always some people who are in a hurry, and don't want to sign the petition, but overall, I would say it has had a quite positive outcome. A large majority of people signed it, and even wanted to know more about it.... Many just don't know what's going on and believe that dolphins are protected internationally. Some found the pictures rather disturbing... At first, we asked people to sign the petition and gave flyers away in font of the train station, and then, we moved to Kleber Square, which was absolutely crowded. We hung up two posters to catch people's interest."
Berlin - Eva Voegler
Sea Shepherd supporters Eva Voegler and a friend collected petition signatures and took them to the Japanese Embassy. They spoke to an official inside the embassy and told him that these were just around 80 signatures she collected in just one 1/2 day. They were expecting Sea Shepherd before we arrived but unfortunately would not allow any photographs.
Budapest - Veronika Kristóf
Because of the location of the Japanese Embassy in Budapest I didn't organize a demonstration on 19th November, but made an appointment to hand over the petition and have a short talk. Mr. Murabayashi, Assistant Ambassador of Japan in Budapest, received the petition with a protest letter in Hungarian (no photos were allowed to be taken). Although I'm a member of their 'enemy' I spent 40 minutes at the embassy and Mr. Murabayashi gave proper answers to all my questions and arguments. Unfortunately I didn't have the opportunity to show the latest video of the homepage! MTI (Hungarian Telegraph Office) also reported about the event in brief in Budapest, Hungary.
The Hague (Den Haag) - Roel Neijbor
Sea Shepherd supporter Roel Neijboer and his wife collected petition signatures to deliver to the Embassy on the 19th. He emailed the Ambassador for an appointment, and was promptly visited by the local police. When he went to the Embassy to deliver the petitions, he found the whole street had been barricaded with barbed wire, raised platforms and many police. Mr. Neijboer delivered the petition but was insulted by the response of the authorities and sent the Ambassador an open letter in which he said, in part:
On Friday the 19th of November I turned my car in the Tobias Asserlaan where the Embassy of Japan is situated. It looked like the street had been prepared for a battlefield. Both side-walks were barricaded. There was an uplifted police post with [blacked out] windows . The whole situation was offending and insulting .We have delivered the petitions to the reception officer.
And reminded the ambassador:
"Now-a-days the killing of dolphins and whales does not serve any genuine need and in every single case arises unacceptable cruelty." We want that to stop!
We sincerely hope that the protests all over the world will improve the behaviour of the Japanese fishermen and Government as well.
Mr. Neijbor's letter can be read by clicking here.
The Ambassador responded that the petition had been read and forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan. He took no responsibility for the overblown security forces.
Click here for pictures drawn by children of the Netherlands in support of this campaign
London - Chris Robinson
The protest went well and was joined by about 40 people from all over England. The protesters were however outnumbered by the local police. They videoed us and spent 2 hours taking pictures for the family album no doubt!!! The Presentation to the Embassy was carried out by Joan Court who took her time to tell the official exactly where Japan was going wrong on this issue. The police moved the protesters to the opposite side of the road as we were "blocking" the pavement, they were also intelligence gathering by pretending to be our friends whilst getting details about individuals. It went well and we raised the profile. Lee falconer took a video of the whole protest. All in all it was an effective day if somewhat bloody cold!
Chicago - Gina Gattuso
I want to thank everyone who sent me words of encouragement today and wished me well with protest. The day started very cloudy here in Chicago and we were expecting some major rain... But I think Mother Nature was with us because the day might have been cloudy, but not one drop of rain came down until the protest was over. At exactly 2:00 p.m. when we started to pack up we felt the 1st drop of rain....
The protest began at exactly 11:30 a.m. and we had a very small group. I want to thank my best friend Diana and some new friends that I made who will not be forgotten, (Tom, Tony and Jeffrey), who came out to give us a helping hand. Before we started the protest some members of the consulate were outside smoking and as soon as we took out our signs they began to speak to each other and I think make jokes. They were smirking and giggling the entire time. We did not let that bother us and we continued with our mission. At 1st it was a bit slow. People just ignored us and refused to sign or even take the brochures that we were offering them. We did not get discouraged and just continued to speak on the devastation that was occurring in Japan regarding how these beautiful animals were being massacred and that by the end of February, 23,000 Dolphins were going to be killed. By 2:00 p.m. we had acquired 150 signatures and had given out almost 500 brochures. Some people who did not want to sign the petition and just took the brochure with them ended up coming back to sign after they had read the brochure. I was amazed on how some people could just walk past us and refuse to listen or even take a brochure. How could someone just walk away after seeing the pictures of the dead dolphins in a bloody lagoon? Even after they heard that 23,000 would be massacred during a 4-month period. This is just completely inconceivable.
To the 150 people who took five minutes out of their busy day to listen to us and sign the petition I am extremely grateful. Let's just hope and pray that the Prime Minister in Tokyo will look at these signatures and realize that he must step in and take action against the slaughter of these beautiful animals that God has given us. Thank you once again for your words of encouragement. If anyone one else out there attended a protest please fill us in on how it went. Thank You & God Bless.
Denver - Kristal Parks
Just want to let you know how our protest went here in Denver. I was pleased with the turn out, about 9 of us, which is great for Denver. About half the people where SSCS folks and the rest activist friends of mine - one a civil rights lawyer. A reporter for a local Japanese/American weekly paper showed up and spoke with me. I referred him to your phone number, SSCS's web site, and gave him the colorful and graphic brochure. He was quite disturbed by the images and shocked that such a thing was happening. He questioned the validity of the picture on the front as one of the people has blonde hair and obviously not Japanese. He said that dolphins are used for therapy for children and so it seemed incongruous to him that they would be killing them for food. He said he knew a government official in Taiji and would be contacting him to discuss it with him. He said he would send me a copy of the newspaper article.
Detroit - Barry Wauldron
Well, it was short and interesting. It is a cold, rainy day and turn-out was poor (one person). Nevertheless, I stood my ground and carried on. As soon as I uncovered the first sign, business owners and uniformed security guards descended on me and demanded that I move from what was apparently a public sidewalk. Within five minutes a handler dressed in black military fatigues brought his bomb-sniffing dog (see photo) in for a very close inspection of my materials and had him rummage through my lunch for a few seconds. As soon as I moved to the sidewalk recommended by security, several plain-clothes security personnel arrived to intimidate us away from that area. They told us it was a private sidewalk but we refuted that, citing the public right of way. They then asked us for our permit, and told us we didn't have one so we were breaking the law (also untrue). Then they threatened to call the police a few times, hoping we would leave.
After a short but spirited argument with five or six security agents, it was time to deliver the petition forms to the Deputy Consulate General, Mr. Miura. As I approached the entrance to the building no less than six uniformed and plain-clothes security officers walked in front of us on the road and demanded to see inside our coats. They then closely escorted us inside the Renaissance Center where I attempted to walk to the meeting place requested by the Japanese Consulate. Security agents were walking and running all around me, one person with nothing more than a clipboard and camera. As I approached the escalator, I saw Mr. Miura who was on his way down to the preplanned meeting area. The security agents (some with the Renaissance Center, some with the hotel, and some possibly with General Motors - also GM World Headquarters) decided to move him away from the pleasant public area we were to meet and very abruptly redirected us to the dark recesses of the basement security offices. When I expressed some apprehension about changing plans and going to the basement the security supervisor said, "No, we're doing this in the security conference room, follow me!" Who were these people to dictate a meeting I had with a foreign dignitary?
As I was lead into the basement the thought occurred to me that there were no witnesses to my whereabouts, and nobody waiting for me to come out. I started to get nervous, but kept thinking about the horrific deaths awaiting thousands of marine mammals at the hands of those Japanese killers. After a close and intimidating escort down a dank basement hallway and past a wall of surveillance monitors, I finally met Mr. Miura. I thanked him for meeting with me and expressed my desire to have a conversation under more pleasant circumstances. I presented him with the petition and told him that the people represented on the forms are all very concerned about the killing of dolphins in Japan. I told him that I respect Japanese culture and tradition, but traditions often change and we hope Japan would rethink the merits of this one. I also expressed concern for the health of the Japanese people who eat the contaminated meat. Mr. Miura brought an assistant with a camera who took our photo (see photo) (apparently he was not overly concerned about his safety). I thanked him again for his time, gave him the petition, some Sea Shepherd literature, and shook his hand. He nodded a lot and didn't say much, as it seemed either his English was not very good, or he wasn't very aware of the dolphin issue.
I was then escorted back out of the building by the zealous security supervisor. After taking a few more photos and waving goodbye to the throngs of security personnel, many who probably just came down to get a look at the "eco-terrorists" armed with vegan wrap sandwiches, I headed back to the car and left the area. No representatives from the media made contact with me before, during or after the demonstration. I knew this would be a difficult venue for a demonstration, but didn't expect the overt hostility, and being alone didn't help much. Well, I gave it a brave and valiant effort, and delivered the names of over 100 people to the Deputy Consulate General of Japan.
Honolulu - Cathy Goeggel
Eleven activists lined Nuuanu Avenue yesterday, holding grimly graphic images of dolphins being murdered at Taiji and Futo Japan. We gave away all the excellent printed materials provided by Sea Shepherd Society and used our bull horn to get our message across to passing motorists and pedestrians. Unfortunately, no media attended, but the Consulate staff were very unhappy that we were there - they called HPD, who responded quickly and told the Consulate that what we were doing was legal. Still photos and video footage were taken.
Mahalo nui to Machi Mann, who translated slogans into Japanese characters, and thanks to Shanti, Bill, Lynn, Doyen, Jane, Eddie, Wayne, Lily, Natasha and Melissa- who spoke out so strongly against the brutality of the drive fishery.
Miami - Jeannie Evans
I was the only one there - I marched back and forth and tried to distribute really cute dolphin stickers. I only had the security guys to listen to me about the unnecessary dolphin slaughters. I am a seasoned rehab person of stranded dolphins and whales here in S. Florida.
Portland - Connie (with In Defense of Animals)
We had a very successful demo on Friday. We had 8 activists there holding banner-sized posters of the photos, handed out all of our literature, got 6 pages of signatures for the petition and took pictures.
Los Angeles - Scott Sheckman
Good weather here as usual - we kicked off the protest at 11:30 a.m. sharp. We had about 25 volunteers come down - some SSCS diehards, some newcomers or from other groups and actor/activist Billy McNamara. We got hundreds of signatures on the petitions, and we handed out hundreds of brochures. Tim Midgley (SSCS International Director) and Yuri (a protester/Japanese translator) met with officials from the consulate around 1:45pm for 5-10 minutes. Tim gave him the DVD of the dolphin slaughter footage and brochure. Ron Colby (long-time SSCS supporter and friend of Captain Watson's) took some video. Police and special agents were not a problem. Thanks to everyone who came down to the consulate and helped get the message out to the masses.
New York - Lawrence Carter Long
Overview of the NYC demo: Nearly twenty people participated in the demo, in addition to video footage being shown by Eddie Lama and FaunaVision. Five sheets of petitions were filled.
Many thanks to Bill, Gretchen, Imogen, Betty, Dorothy, William, Tanya, Elizabeth, Deedra, Delci, Michelle, Carlos, Camille, Assaf, Kym, Eddie, Eric, Senta and everyone else whose selfless efforts made the event such a huge success!!! Media coverage included Asahi Shimbun, one of the major daily newspapers for Japanese people living in the U.S, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun or Nikkei, the most reliable business newspaper in Japan for the past 119 years - the largest business daily in the world, and the Yomiuri Shimbun - one of the major daily newspaper for Japanese people living in the U.S., Europe and Southeast Asia. There was also the Associated Press Television News (APTN).
San Francisco - Report from Captain Paul Watson
Because I was in San Francisco to attend the Sierra Club Board of Directors, meeting I took advantage of this to speak at Heald College on the evening of November 18 and to attend the Sea Shepherd International Day of Protest against the dolphin slaughter on November 19 in front of the Japanese Consulate at 50 Fremont Street.
Many thanks to Dr. Elliot Katz and others at In Defense of Animals (IDA) for your involvement in this important issue. The protest was well attended and about thirty people held signs. Sea Shepherd supporters came from Marin County, Walnut Creek, Santa Cruz, San Jose and from Reno, Nevada, to participate.
The Japanese Consulate sent down a public relations spokesperson who said she would relay the message to the Japanese government. Her only argument is that it is a tradition and is no different than the fox hunt in Britain. We then informed her that the British government had banned the fox hunt this very week and if the British could halt a traditional barbaric practice, surely the Japanese could do the same. The security guards and the police in attendance were sympathetic and allowed us to set up a portable lectern and microphone provided by In Defense of Animals which allowed me to explain why we were there.
The photos held up by our people spoke for themselves and everyone that we spoke to on the streets was horrified at the brutality. Almost everyone who was asked signed the petition that we are collecting to present to the Japanese government.
Seattle - Michael Moore
Our protest started promptly at 11:30 am. It was a chilly morning, but thankfully no rain. There were four of us on a busy corner at 6th and Union in Seattle. We were first greeted by building security, then watched the entire time by at least 7 police and undercover policemen (and some driving by on motorcycles and bikes) who also took our picture. We were told to stay on the sidewalk, not block any traffic and keep moving. We were informed that the Consulate had closed their offices that day because of our protests. We handed out over 200 brochures and were pleased by most of the responses that we got. We were interviewed by KING 5 TV and a reporter for the North American Post, the largest and oldest Japanese-language newspaper in the Pacific Northwest. Thank you Diane, Isobel and Elaine and all the Sea Shepherd staff at Friday Harbor!
Washington, DC - Lydia Nichols
About 10 people showed up in total to help out for the protest. We passed out a lot of information about the campaign, and got some petitions distributed and signed. We received a great deal of support from people driving by.