HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Organizers of an Aloha Unity march were expecting 10,000 people to make their way through Waikiki Saturday.
Judging from the scene on Kalakaua Avenue, they may have easily met or surpassed that mark.
The event is aimed at expressing opposition to the Thirty Meter Telescope project, but also show unity for Aloha Aina movements.
“This is like family, ohana,” said Cynde Fernandes, one of the marchers. “They’re all talking. They’re singing. They’re giving a message, and this is it.”
Kalakaua Avenue’s length from Ala Moana Boulevard to Kapiolani Park was transformed into a river of Hawaiian flags, with the sounds of those supporting those who have blocked construction of the TMT atop Mauna Kea.
Even some of the marchers were amazed at the turnout.
“I think this is more, and there’s more on the way,” said Hud Lizama Kahu, another marcher. “The world is watching. They’re here for us. And we’re here for the mauna.”
“It’s overwhelming,” said Tiki Suan. “To see the people of Hawaii support the lahui, support the movement to protect our environment,k to protect our culture, we’re all here standing for this event.”
There was a large police presence to keep things organized and traffic moving, but it was a peaceful and friendly demonstration.
While thousands marched through Waikiki, at least one person who supports TMT was also speaking out.
“I want TMT here. I want the astronomy community here. I want the jobs, the business, the education, the technical, the contribution to mankind we’re making. It’s amazing,” said Sam King of the group Imua TMT.
“Is the march going to put kids in school? Is the march going to get them really great scholarships? Is the march going to get them internships and high-tech jobs that help diversify our economy? At this point, marching against TMT is not going to accomplish any of that," said King.
While King hopes there is more of a dialogue on the issue on all sides, the marchers want to make their voices loud and clear.
“Just for the people, the Hawaiian people, we need to speak out," said Lizama Kahu. “It’s time. It’s our time now. It’s Hawaiian time.”