Kyoto University students climb campus clock tower, clash with staff amid riot police presence



a group of people walking in front of a building: Students are seen on the roof of Kyoto University Clock Tower Centennial Hall on the university's Yoshida campus in Kyoto's Sakyo Ward, on Nov. 27, 2020, in this photo provide by a reader.


© The Mainichi
Students are seen on the roof of Kyoto University Clock Tower Centennial Hall on the university’s Yoshida campus in Kyoto’s Sakyo Ward, on Nov. 27, 2020, in this photo provide by a reader.

KYOTO — Riot police were deployed on a campus of the elite Kyoto University on Nov. 27 after students who had climbed a clock tower at the school clashed with staff.

Around noon that day, students set a ladder up on Clock Tower Centennial Hall on the university’s Yoshida campus in Kyoto’s Sakyo Ward, sparking a scuffle with staff who tried to stop them. Riot police were then summoned to the scene, entering the grounds through the front gate. The area was in an uproar for some time, but ultimately there were no injuries or arrests.

Students from the school’s Kumano-ryo dorm traditionally climb the clock tower during a festival at the residence. However, the university issued a notice on Nov. 25 declaring the custom “dangerous” and “an act of trespassing that infringes the Penal Code.” The university stated that it would “take stringent measures, including reporting infractions to police among other legal action” if the students tried to climb the tower.

During the standoff, the students hung banners from the clock tower and used a loudspeaker to slam the university’s refusal to negotiate. They also distributed flyers in the surrounding area.

Kyoto Prefectural Police told the Mainichi Shimbun, “A report was filed, and we entered the campus to prevent possible danger. We cannot reveal specifics about policing conditions.”

(Japanese original by Reiko Nakajima and Norikazu Chiba, Kyoto Bureau)

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