55 arrested in wind-farm protests, 237 officers involved in enforcement, HPD Chief Susan Ballard says
UPDATE: 7 p.m.
A growing group of about 50 supporters of Ku Ki’ai Kahuku continued to gather near the entrance to the Kahuku Agricultural Park as the sun set.
Kumu hula Kuki Southard brought her teenage hula halau members, who danced as she chanted.
“We feel very passionate about supporting Ku Ki’ai Kahuku,” she said.
She said many of her students attend the elementary and high schools in Kahuku and wanted to go to the site.
The proximity to the schools, the size of them, the fact that property values will go down and the endangering of the native Hawaiian hoary bats are reasons the halau came to support the cause.
“Many of my students go to school in Kahuku and live in Kahuku and many wanted to come,” she said. “We wanted to give our hookupu (gift or offering) through hula and mele (song).”
Meanwhile other supporters stopped by to barbecue dinner for the group. A woman dropped off a large jar of mamaki tea.
Video by Dennis Oda, Diane S. W. Lee, Cindy Ellen Russell and Kat Wade / Special to the Star-Advertiser
Honolulu Police Chief Susan Ballard said a total of 55 people were arrested and all have been released on $100 bail. At a just-concluded news conference at HPD headquarters, Ballard said a total of 237 officers were involved in the enforcement action Thursday night and today.
Honolulu police reopened both lanes on Kamehameha Highway near the Kahuku Agricultural Park following the arrival of turbine parts for the planned wind farm.
Honolulu police arrested 30 protesters in Kahuku this morning as they attempted to block a planned wind farm project.
The latest arrests bring the total to more than 50 after Thursday night’s more than 20 arrests in Kalaeloa as protesters there try to block a heavy equipment convoy before it started its overnight journey to Kahuku.
Officers started arresting protesters in Kahuku at about 8:15 a.m. today.
Dozens of police are posted near the entrance of the Kahuku Agricultural Park where more than 65 protesters against the planned wind farm converged to block the arrival of turbine parts.
More than two dozen protesters sat under a canopy in a peaceful demonstration.
At about 9 a.m., police carried one of the protesters, identified as Choon James, in the sit-down demonstration and took her into custody in a police van.
The police van is one of three vans at the site, which are being used for protesters taken into custody.
Trucks carrying turbine parts slowly traveled up the roadway of the Kahuku Agricultural Park shortly after 10:15 a.m. following the arrests of the 30 protesters.
Police dismantled the canopy that had sheltered the arrested protesters.
After officers took them into custody, police removed a chain-link fence to make way for four large trucks carrying turbine parts.
Police arrested 21 people and a utility pole on Kamehameha Highway was intentionally cut down overnight as protesters continue their fight today to block the installation of eight massive turbines for a wind-energy farm in Kahuku.
Kamehameha Highway near Sunset Beach was reopened for the convoy at about 7:30 a.m. after a Hawaiian Electric Co. crew removed the damaged pole, which knocked out power to some customers in the area. Police suspect the pole was cut down to stop the wind turbine convoy from reaching Kahuku.
A large police presence blocked the growing crowd of protesters at the entrance to the Kahuku wind farm site on Oahu’s North Shore as the convoy restarted this morning.
Late Thursday night, scores of protesters gathered at both Kalaeloa in Kapolei, where the heavy-equipment for the convoy was stationed, and near the Kahuku wind farm.
The Kalaeloa protesters stationed themselves at the intersection of Malakole and Hanua Street, less than a mile from AES Hawaii. Virginia-based developer AES Corp. has been contracted to build the wind farm in Kahuku.
Many of the protesters at Kalaeloa duct-taped and zip-tied to each other sat in the middle of the access road for about half an hour before the arrests began.
About 75 police officers were on hand. They used a megaphone to tell the protesters that they were unlawfully occupying the road, but protesters drowned out the warnings by chanting and singing.
Officers gave them until 11 p.m. to move as many of the protesters stayed in the middle of the access road for about half an hour before the arrests began. Another 20 or so protesters walked around them for support, singing, chanting and carrying Hawaii state flags.
Arrests of protesters blocking the road at Kalaeloa began after 11 p.m. and by 1 a.m. a total of 21 arrests had been made, police said.
About 20 officers used their bicycles to block the protesters being arrested from those standing nearby.
The first three protesters arrested were women, and other protesters called for female officers to carry them away, but officers ignored the requests.
At 1:15 a.m., four trucks with oversized beds carrying large turbine parts left as part of a convoy with police motorcycles and cars as escorts.
The convoy continued is on its way to Kahuku through H-2 and Kamehameha Highway, which are scheduled to be partially closed until 5 a.m. to accommodate the move. But the convoy was stopped after the utility pole was cut down.
Repairs were made and the convoy began moving again at about 7:30 a.m.
Kahuku residents say the turbines lead to health problems, which include migraines, nausea and other physiological symptoms caused by constant noises and lights from the turbines.
AES Corp. contends that the wind turbines will have no ill health effects.
FRIDAY 7:30 a.m.
Crews have removed the fallen electrical pole from Kamehameha Highway to let the wind farm convoy through but police are not yet letting other traffic through.
Police are turning around vehicles on Kamehameha Highway near Sunset Beach because a Hawaiian Electric Co. electric pole was cut down, officers confirmed, presumably to stop the wind turbine convoy from reaching Kahuku.
It’s unclear when the road will reopen or if the convoy will divert from its original path.
Update: 1:33 a.m. Friday
After the last of the 21 protesters were arrested at 1:15 a.m. Friday, four trucks with oversized beds carrying large turbine parts, likely for the tower part of the turbine, left as part of a convoy with police motorcycles and cars as escorts.
The convoy is on its way to Kahuku through H-2 and Kamehameha Highway, which are partially closed until 5 a.m. to accommodate the transportation of the parts.
11:21 p.m. Thursday
Three protesters have been arrested so far, with the first at 11:16 p.m. All have been carried from the spots where they were sitting.
All three arrests have been women, and although protesters called for female officers to carry them away, police have ignored those requests.
Twenty-one protesters duct-taped and zip-tied to each other sat in the middle of the access road for about half an hour, but police have moved to begin arresting them.
Officers and protesters asked by-standing protesters to leave the road.
Police said through a megaphone that the protesters are unlawfully occupying the road, but protesters drowned out the warnings by chanting and singing. Officers gave them until 11 p.m. to move from the road.
Twenty of the 75 or so officers used their bicycles to block the protesters being arrested from those standing by.
About two dozen protesters who duct-taped and zip-tied themselves to each other cut the police tape blocking them to block the road where the wind turbines would be carried out.
Another 20 or so walked around them for support. They are singing, chanting and carrying Hawaii state flags.
Police officers have gathered near the human blockade but have not acted.
At least 60 protesters against the Na Pua Makani wind farm project have gathered at both Kalaeloa in Kapolei and near the Kahuku wind farm on the North Shore, where trucks carrying wind turbine parts will leave from and be built, respectively.
The group is at the intersection of Malakole and Hanua Street, less than a mile from AES Hawaii. Police have blocked off the road the trucks will be leaving from.
Protesters are duct-taping and zip-tying themselves to each other.
The Virginia-based developer AES Corp. has been contracted to build the wind farm in Kahuku.
Protesters have protested the installation of the turbines since Sunday but have opposed the project for about a decade.
Kahuku residents say the turbines lead to health problems, which include migraines, nausea and other physiological symptoms caused by both constant audible and visual noises and lights as well as imperceptible emissions from turbines such as infrasound.
AES Corp. has continued to say that the wind turbines will have no health effects.
Star-Advertiser reporter Leila Fujimori contributed to this report.
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