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City says it is open to safe, legal protests during event

By B.J. Reyes

LAST UPDATED: 07:41 p.m. HST, Oct 20, 2011

Just as it did in 2001 when the Asian Development Bank conference was held in Hawaii, the state's isolation might help limit the size of protests during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit next month, some government officials say.

"I would suspect that to some extent, because we're isolated in the middle of the Pacific and it's expensive to get here, that we may not be facing the kind of thing that they would on the mainland where you can hop in a Volks­wagen bus and cross state lines in a heartbeat and go hundreds of miles," Mayor Peter Carlisle said in a recent interview.

But the mayor and his administration insist that opposing voices will be allowed to be heard. "This is America," he said. "People are allowed to protest. People are allowed to exercise their freedom of speech rights, and they are going to be allowed to do so, but obviously not at the expense of people's safety or in violation of the law."

Exactly how and where protests will be allowed is being determined. While the city said it intends to provide opportunities for exercise of free speech, it also has accommodated requests for city, state and federal use of several public areas to stage emergency vehicles. Those areas include Ala Moana Beach Park, Ala Wai Promenade, Ala Wai Community Park, Ala Wai Golf Clubhouse, Kapiolani Park and Kamokila Community Park.

A city spokeswoman said all of the plans for using the park areas are awaiting final approval and could change based on the needs of law enforcement and security for APEC.

At least one group, World Can't Wait-Hawaii, had requested a permit to gather at the Ala Wai Promenade, where it demonstrated during the 2001 ADB conference. After initially being denied a permit, the group reached an agreement — with the intervention of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii — to access part of the promenade that will be shared with law enforcement.

The ACLU says it is working with the city on giving the public more notice on what parks are available for use. "A lot of uncertainly remains because the secure zones have not yet been announced," Vanessa Chong, executive director of the ACLU-Hawaii, said in an email. "Once we know, the ACLU will determine whether they adequately protect the right to free speech and will be ready to take necessary action."

She added that the ACLU is so far "encouraged by the commitment" of government officials to respect free-speech rights.

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Highinthesierras wrote:
Depends on whether UNIONS here join their ilk on the mainland, which are funding the protests there.
on October 17,2011 | 05:06AM
KeithHaugen wrote:
What happens if some of those attending APEC decide they want to leave their sequestered, secured hotels and take a walk in our beautiful Hawai`i? Or what if they decide to take a bus or a taxi to see something we don't want them to see, in an area that has not been fixed up and approved for them to see? What if one of them wants to go fishing, or to the beach, or surfing? We know the Chinese were successful in the way they kept visitors from seeing anything they did not want them to see, but can we do it? And what of the hundreds of reporters and cameramen who will accompany the APEC VIPS? What if they decide to see something we don't want them to see?
on October 17,2011 | 05:48AM
Bdpapa wrote:
So what! Let ʻem go. It ainʻt no big thing. This activity still will be limited to a minority.
on October 17,2011 | 01:26PM
palani wrote:
Here's an idea: Provide the homeless with "Occupy Wall Street", and other anti-capitalism/anti-trade/anti-progress signs. The APEC delegates might be impressed with our embrace of free speech and the formerly indigent would be transformed into concerned protestors.
on October 17,2011 | 06:54AM
HoldEverything wrote:
they made the right choice to hold the APEC meeting on an island. If it were in New York--or in any major world city--it would be overrun.
on October 17,2011 | 07:21AM
Papakolea wrote:
I think the vast majority of the protestors just want to get their message across and are willing to do so in a civilized and legal manner. It's the narrow percentage of extremists (or protestors who protest just for the sake of protesting) who cause the trouble and get all the media airtime.
on October 17,2011 | 09:49AM
Changalang wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on October 17,2011 | 10:22AM
Bdpapa wrote:
They may land here, but they will have a hard time gettingout. That is why they are probably not coming. In general, these protesters want alternate ways out. The inciters are pretty well known and will be monitored.
on October 17,2011 | 01:29PM
rikio2 wrote:
Attention: Occupy Hawaii - Hana Hou. Please show your conviction by Occupying Hawaii during the APEC conference. Have no conviction, I think so, you're not occupying, you're just showing face and going home. Make it real and really Occupy.
on October 17,2011 | 06:37PM
Bdpapa wrote:
Get a life and go to the polls!
on October 17,2011 | 07:50PM
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