Packed but peaceful: Black Lives Matter protesters take to streets of Oahu

Updated: May. 31, 2020 at 4:25 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Protesters in Honolulu spilled onto the streets of Ala Moana Boulevard near Piikoi Saturday, spreading the message: Black lives matter.

Additional protests took place on Sunday in Kapolei and again at Magic Island, where a candlelight vigil was planned for victims of racism and violence.

During the protests, the large crowds chanted and held signs as authorities kept a close watch, ensuring things remained peaceful.

on Saturday, protesters gathered in Waikiki and walked down Kapiolani Boulevard to Ala Moana Beach Park. Around 2:30 p.m., the group marched back towards Waikiki.

Hundreds of protesters spilled onto the streets near Ala Moana Beach Park Saturday.
Hundreds of protesters spilled onto the streets near Ala Moana Beach Park Saturday.(City Traffic Cameras)

Those who participated in the protest say the movement is about identifying the racial divide in America.

“We are all part of the problem. It’s not the police that are the problem, they are symptoms of the problem. The problem is the system — the systemic racism. That is the problem and that is the level that it needs to be addressed on,” protester Heather Riverstone said.

Protest took place on Oahu and Maui Saturday as tensions were extremely high across the nation following the death of George Floyd, who died after a white officer, 44-year-old Derek Chauvin, was seen on video pressing his knee against the back Floyd’s neck during his arrest.

Floyd was heard saying he couldn’t breathe. Despite this, Chauvin continued to press his knee against Floyd’s neck.

The video has since sparked national outcry and civil unrest.

Chauvin has since been fired, arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. But that did little to appease angry riots in major cities on the mainland.

In Minneapolis, Los Angeles and New York City, peaceful protests have been overshadowed as some in the crowd managed to spark mobs and angry riots. Storefronts have been damaged and others set ablaze.

Many have called for the other officers involved — who stood by and did not come to Floyd’s aid — to be arrested as well.

Honolulu’s protest wasn’t nearly as chaotic as the ones on the mainland, thankfully. But as a precaution, Target Ala Moana confirmed the store closed early at 2 p.m. Saturday to keep their employees safe in case things got out of hand.

The chain has closed about 175 stores nationwide in light of riots on the mainland, CNN reported. Ala Moana’s location resumed normal hours Sunday.

“I think it’s really powerful with the amount of people that came in that were from all races. Being black in America, much less Hawaii, is trauma in itself and I think it was amazing to show all the support from our community and from everyone here on the island,” protester Danielle Martin said.

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell shared his thoughts on Twitter:

This story will be updated.

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