Japan Olympics Tokyo 2020 Protest

Protesters formed a human ring around Tokyo's National Stadium on Saturday, opposing plans to destroy the 56-year-old facility and replace it with a colossal, futuristic structure for the 2020 Olympics. Pic: AP

TOKYO (AP) — A group of protesters marched around Tokyo’s National Stadium on Saturday, demonstrating against plans to destroy the 56-year-old facility and replace it with a colossal, futuristic structure for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

About 500 protesters took part in the demonstration while carrying signs that read “We want a compact and economical Olympics” and “Reverse the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.”

The proposed 80,000-seat stadium designed by British-Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid is to be the centerpiece of 2020 Olympics but has many detractors. Critics say the design is too big, too costly and clashes with Tokyo’s urban planning.

Prominent architects and other opponents are petitioning the government to instead upgrade the existing 48,000-seat stadium that hosted the 1964 Olympics.