Police arrest 16 for trying to block convoy of equipment for wind farm project

Updated: Oct. 28, 2019 at 2:51 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sixteen people were arrested in late Sunday into early Monday in an attempt to block a convoy of heavy equipment for a wind farm project on Oahu’s North Shore, according to Honolulu police records.

The arrests — starting around 11:20 p.m. Sunday — were made in Kalaeloa, where the turbine towers and blades are currently stored.

The new arrests bring the total to 127 arrests over the past few weeks in Kalaeloa and Kahuku. Police said some protesters attached themselves with PVC pipes and handcuffs last week, but did not use that method overnight.

Officials with the AES Na Pua Makani wind farm said last week that despite the arrests, the project and transport of massive turbine parts from Kalaeloa to Kahuku are still on track.

Overnight road closures are expected to continue nightly through Friday morning.

“I’ve seen people respond anywhere from it being the worst day of their life to it being something a matter of fact,” said criminal defense attorney Benjamin Ignacio.

The wind farm protesters were arrested for disobeying a officer which is a petty misdemeanor punishable up to 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Ignacio says each defendant has a right a trial where arresting officers would be subpoenaed to testify.

“Each one of these protesters who may want to influence the decision making of the government may do that by forcing them by going through the full effort of prosecuting and that’s their right. That’s their constitutional right,” he said.

Native Hawaiian attorney Mililani Trask was arrested at Mauna Kea. She says she supports the Kahuku wind farm and Sherwoods protesters in Waimanalo.

“I always tell parents, if one will be arrested, the other cannot. On Mauna Kea it was decided that the young ones with the children and employment and other needs need to step back,” she said.

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