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Last Updated: Monday, 30 January 2006, 08:22 GMT
Osaka homeless resist police move
Homeless people and supporters, foreground, jostle with security officers as they protest against the removal of their tents from a park in Osaka, western Japan, Monday, Jan. 30, 2006.
Two people were reportedly injured during the jostling
Homeless people resisting eviction from two parks in Japan's western city of Osaka have clashed with police.

City authorities want to clear the homeless people's tents as the parks are to host a world rose convention and an urban greenery event.

City officials said eviction notices were served last October but had not been heeded. Eighteen people have filed lawsuits to contest the order.

About a third of Japan's estimated 25,000 homeless are based in Osaka.

Officials succeeded in removing all the tents at Osakjo Park, but the homeless and their supporters were locked in a tense stand-off with police at Utsubo Park.

TV footage showed police, guards and city workers pushing and shoving with homeless people and their supporters in one of the parks.

More than 750 city employees, guards and transport workers had been sent to dismantle 28 tent homes in the two parks, city official Takeshi Yamane said. Another 350 police had been dispatched to assist in the eviction, Kyodo news agency reported.

"We've been asking them to move to self-support centres all along," Mr Yamane said.

The number of homeless people in Japan has risen sharply over the past 15 years, partly fuelled by the country's economic downturn.

Many homeless people live in neat, well-kept shelters in parks, under bridges or along river banks.

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