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27 arrested in second Kalaeloa standoff over wind farm

Honolulu police arrested about 27 anti-wind farm protesters early Monday morning Kalaeloa while demonstrating a greater show of force in response to protests than in the past.

Stetson Morales, 18, was the last to be arrested. He had chained himself by the neck to a gate blocking trucks carrying parts for wind turbines.

Police made the first arrests shortly before 11 p.m Sunday night and finished around 12:30 a.m.

About 100 Honolulu Police officers filled Malakole Street in Kalaeloa around 10 p.m. Sunday and prepared to arrest the protesters who sat in the middle of Hanua Street to block the transportation of the turbine parts to the site of the planned Na Pua Makani wind farm in Kahuku.

Several trucks carrying turbine blades made it through the attempted blockade Monday morning. They proceeded north with a police escort.

The convoy met another protest in Kahuku, where 13 opponents were arrested, according to Hawaii News Now.

A masked protestor raises the Hawaiian flag above bike-mounted officers and activists seated on the ground, awaiting arrest. Blaze Lovell/CivilBeat

The police presence Sunday night was significantly greater than what was seen Thursday.

Police action Sunday mirrored similar incidents on Oahu in which authorities worked to prevent protest groups from gaining a foothold.

‘Too Big, Too Close’

The activists are fighting against the planned construction of eight wind turbines in Kahuku.

Na Pua Makani wind farm, developed by the energy company AES, is expected to have the tallest turbines in the U.S., topping out at 568 ft.

A common chant of the protests has been “too big, too close.”

During the protest, the kia’i, or protectors as they call themselves, were duct taped and zip tied together and began singing “Hawaii Aloha” as dozens of police on bicycles and squad cars faced them down.

The bike mounted police attempted to break the line of protesters around 10:20 p.m., but instead formed two lines along Hanua Road to make it easier for police to arrest the protesters.

Honolulu police on bikes prepare to break up the anti-wind farm protest in Kalaeloa. Blaze Lovell/CivilBeat

Police used the bicycles to form a corridor for other police to begin arrests. It was a tactic used to make arrests recently at a protest against construction of a ball field at Waimanalo State Beach Park.

Similar to Thursday, when 22 were arrested in Kalaeloa, HPD issued three verbal warnings that individuals would be arrested if they didn’t leave.

The protesters sat in two lines in the middle of the road. Some in the back line lay down as they prepared for police to move in.

Mauna Kea protest leader Andre Perez came from the Big Island earlier in the evening and went straight to Kalaeloa. He looked over the group before arrests began and offered advice.

“My advice to you, stop laughing. This is not a laughing matter. Stay Solemn, somber,” he said.

The crowd was advised to relax their bodies to make arrest more difficult.

“Make them carry the weight of your ancestors,” Perez told them.

About 11:13 p.m. a group of around two dozen protesters led by Kumu Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu came marching down the grass path lining Malakole Street toward the intersection.

Kumu Hina lead the two groups of activists in the song “Ku Haaheo E Kuu Hawaii,” a composition she wrote which has become a popular call-and-response chant during recent Native Hawaiian protests.

Police arrested each protester by cutting through the tape and zip ties before hauling the individuals off their feet.

“Malama us, not the corporations,” Kahuku protest leader Nakia Nae’ole said as he was taken into a police van.

Perez brought up the fact that, in many instances, police may be arresting their fellow Oahu residents.

“You’ll know what it feels like sooner or later when these developers come to your front doorstep, to your backyard,” Perez said.

Tensions rose shortly before midnight when the crowd discovered Morales had attached himself by the neck to a gate on Hanua Street in front of the truck convoy.

Police would not allow a doctor through who had joined the protests to check on Morales.

An officer said police had given him a bucket to sit on as well as liquids to drink.

After the road was cleared, HPD began escorting fans for the turbines from Kalaeloa to Kahuku.

Crews are expected to continue moving parts for the turbines over the next seven weeks.