All 18 protesters who were arrested in Kalaeloa overnight have been released after posting bail, according to a Honolulu police spokesperson.
Honolulu police scrambled to clear a path for the convoy transporting wind turbine parts to Kahuku, taking four hours Sunday night into Monday morning to arrest 18 protesters who blocked their way in Kalaeloa, eventually having to leave one protester on the driveway as trucks passed by.
Since protests against AES Corp.’s Na Pua Makani wind project began the night of Oct. 17, police have arrested everyone in Kalaeloa who blocked the driveway before allowing trucks with massive turbine parts to leave – that is until early Monday morning, when police had to surround the remaining protester still in the driveway before letting the trucks go.
“There’s still two people on the barrier, and they’re letting the trucks go,” one person said on a Facebook video as she recorded the trucks passing through the driveway, and later said, “They still have to take the other person off the barrier, which will take another hour.”
Four protesters locked themselves in pairs to newly installed barricades on both sides of both fences on the driveway using what some called “PVC lockboxes,” tactical protest tools that make it difficult for police to free the protesters from each other but easy for them to release themselves.
The locked protesters placed an arm in each end of a PVC pipe, and using chain or duct tape, linked themselves together. They did this with the PVC pipe placed through one of the holes in the plastic barricades that AES Corp. had installed Sunday morning, which it had done after Thursday night’s protest led to pushing and shoving between protesters and police.
It took police over 90 minutes to cut away the first two protesters, both women, as officers eventually cut through the barricades.
After police took over an hour figuring out how to do seperate the conjoined protesters, the crowd yelled at police to “call it off” as officers switched between a variety of tools, both manual and powered.
“It’s taken over an hour and a half,” one demonstrator said as he looked on. “By the time you get to the next one, it’s going to be 5 a.m. … Just call it. Might as well.”
They were also upset that police ignored their requests to give the locked protesters safety equipment to shield the women from the smoke and sparks that flew from the powered tools being used to cut them loose and did not allow medical personnel to check on them.
Nakia Naeole, who has been leading the demonstrations in Kalaeloa since they began, asked police using a megaphone to bring “EMS (Emergency Medical Services) over here to look over our wahine and make sure their health and welfare are taken care of.”
An EMS vehicle was on the scene.
Arrests began just past 11 p.m. Sunday night, but it was after 3 a.m. when the first pair of lockbox protesters was cut free.
AES Corp.’s permit allows the transporation of parts between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. five days a week, and it takes about three hours or so without traffic for the convoy to drive the 40 miles from Kalaeloa to Kahuku on the North Shore.
The parts also arrived well past their allotted permit time on Oct. 18, when trucks arrived in Kahuku closer to 10 a.m., but since then have generally reached the North Shore before 5 a.m.
Exactly one month after the first arrests linked to the Na Pua Makani wind farm project were made, opponents of the project gathered in Kalaeloa Sunday night to once more attempt to stop the transport of wind turbines.
Virginia-based AES Corp. is building eight wind turbines in Kahuku, which are scheduled to start operating next year. Opponents have said the 568-foot turbines are too tall and too close to homes, farms and schools.
The protesters put out a call Sunday on social media, asking for 5,000 demonstrators to show up and to not bring children.
As of 9 p.m. Sunday, around 100 protesters had gathered in Kalaeloa. Several police were also on site. The numbers were expected to grow ahead of the 11 p.m. scheduled departure of AES trucks carrying turbine parts to Kahuku.
While demonstrations have largely been peaceful, on Thursday night the protesters and police engaged in shoving and both claimed aggression by the other.
Officers arrested 26 protesters Thursday for allegedly disobeying police orders. They were among the 200 people who converged on Kalaeloa on Thursday night.
Protesters claimed that the pushing and shoving led to some minor injuries.
AES put up barricades over the weekend to block protesters from having access to the driveway in Kalaeloa that the trucks use to exit.
On social media posts, wind farm opponents said they hope to stop the caravan carrying turbine parts at least once. The caravan has been able to complete the trip from Kalaeloa to Kahuku five nights a week since beginning in mid-October.
The company said Thursday it has completed construction of the project’s first turbine and that it is more than halfway through its planned transport schedule, which will continue through Nov. 26.
To date, more than 150 arrests have been made.
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