Wednesday, November 25, 2015         


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Protest group blocks highway with help from Honolulu police

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


Two Hawaiian sovereignty groups were among a smattering of protesters lining Farrington Highway Sunday hoping to deliver messages to world leaders and accompanying media gathered at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting at the J.W. Marriott Ihilani at Ko Olina.

Farrington Highway is the only road to the gated resort community, and the groups took advantage of that.

At about noon the Hawaiian Independence Action Alliance halted traffic on the highway at the Laaloa Street intersection for five minutes, an action that had been coordinated with the Honolulu Police Department.

Officers from the aloha shirt-clad Civil Affairs Division and Bicycle Detail blocked off the intersection from vehicles as about 20 protesters stood in the crosswalk and held up letters that spelled, "FREE HAWAII."

After about a minute, the protesters formed a new grouping of letters and a symbol that spelled "APEC (does not equal) ALOHA."

Vehicles on both sides of the highway began to pile up quickly. Several motorists honked their horns, but it was unclear whether they supported or disapproved of the action.

The roadblock came several hours after President Barack Obama and other APEC leaders had made their way into Ko Olina, but alliance coordinator Lynette Cruz said her group got its point across.

"This made sense for us," Cruz said, noting her group is not large enough to grab the kind of media attention that was attracted Saturday afternoon by the 300-person anti-APEC march from Moiliili to Waikiki.

Across the street and several hundred feet away, about a dozen members of the group Reinstated Hawaiian Government gathered from about 6 a.m. and erected large signs demanding the return of lands to the Hawaiian nation.

Henry Noa, prime minister of the group, said most of the limousines carrying dignitaries sped by as they drove past on their way to Ko Olina, but he said the Chinese contingent appeared to have slowed and paid extra attention to the signs that read "US Gov't Return the Stolen Lands Back to the Haw'n Nation" and "The Lawful Haw'n Gov't Demands the Return of All National, Crown, Gov't & Public Lands."

Noa's group argues that the kingdom of Hawaii never gave up its independent status or its lands.

HPD Maj. Robert Green, who heads APEC'S Crowd Management Unit, was on hand to monitor the traffic stoppage by the Hawaiian Independence Action Alliance.

"It went very well," Green said. "People were on the road, they were told to get off the road and they left the road."

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