Japanese protesters fill streets as nuclear re-start looms via Chicago Tribune (Reuters)

TOKYO (Reuters) – More than 15,000 anti-nuclear protesters blocked streets outside the Japanese prime minister’s office on Friday, beating drums and chanting slogans against the restart of reactors nearly 16 months after the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 25 years.

The crowd blocked off a six-lane road and adjoining streets leading to the Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda’s official residence in central Tokyo. Police parked five armored riot control buses in front of the entrance to prevent protesters entering the compound.

Several helicopters circled overhead as the sun went down on a clear, early summer evening.

The protest capped weeks of sporadic demonstrations and was the biggest gathering in central Tokyo since Noda said this month the restart of two reactors in western Japan was necessary to avoid damaging the economy.

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