Protesters’ Voices Could Be Heard Inside the Opening Ceremony

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There are no fans inside Tokyo’s Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony. But hundreds of people are outside, including protesters whose voices and noisemakers can be heard echoing throughout the stadium during every pause in programming.

It adds to the at times dystopian feeling in the arena, where athletes are marching through an empty stadium, buoyed only by pep rally music and masked dancers who seem too desperate to keep the mood light.

The city of Tokyo is currently in a state of emergency, one that began on July 8 and will last the entirety of the Games. It briefly seemed as if domestic spectators would be able to enjoy the Olympics in their backyard, but that decision was reversed, and early events — like the opening ceremony — have played out in front of empty stands.

Inside the stadium tonight, though, every brief pause brings a new sound: Not the claps of fans, but the chants of the protests outside.