Tokyo police shut down Mt.Gox protest

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Kolin Burges confronts Mt.Gox CEO Mark Karpeles. Video by Jon Southurst.

Kolin Burges confronts Mt.Gox CEO Mark Karpeles. Video by Jon Southurst.

Yesterday, police broke up the small, loosely organized protest outside Mt.Gox’s offices in Tokyo’s Shibuya district. Police told the protestors that the demonstration was illegal, and warned them not to return without a “demonstration license.” According to protest organizers, the police were called by other tenants of the building who had grown tired of the protest, rather than by Mt.Gox itself.

Organizers have expressed doubt that they’ll be able to get the required permits any time soon, so the public protest outside the Mt.Gox offices appears to be over, at least for now.

Since early February, disgruntled Mt.Gox customers have been protesting the troubled exchange, originally because of the company’s extremely slow processing of transactions. The exchange’s decision to freeze Bitcoin transfers from the site two weeks ago inspired many more protestors from around the world to journey to Japan and make their complaints known. While some of these protests have been confrontational, for the most part they’ve been small and peaceful.

The increasingly organized protests have clearly been a distraction for Mt.Gox, and were even cited as enough of a “security problem” to require the (claimed) relocation of the company offices.

The future of the Mt.Gox protest is unclear, but likely to continues in some form until the exchange either allows transfers to resume or, as many fear, declares bankruptcy.

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