HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Carrying signs and chanting, at least 1,000 people Friday converged on Waikiki to support Black Lives Matter protests happening across the nation.
The march, which started at Ala Moana Beach Park, was one of a number of Oahu events planned over the next several days. Police have said they expect them to remain peaceful.
Those participating in the Waikiki event remained on the sidewalk as they marched, chanting “no justice, no peace, prosecute the police" and “black lives matter."
Other than slowing traffic, the march caused no problems.
Even so, a number of Waikiki businesses apparently boarded up their store windows with plywood and metal barricades as private security stood outside Friday in anticipation of the planned demonstrations and rumors of violence.
The Honolulu Police Department released a statement saying it was aware of social media posts of mainland agitators and rumors that a medical facility is preparing for large numbers of injured. HPD said it was a rumor, it was prepared for any type of action and it thanked demonstrators for peacefully expressing their right to free speech.
“I heard a lot about the rumors,” said Ashlee Manzo.
“We are trying to be peaceful. We are trying to have a good protest,” she added.
During Friday’s event, demonstrators kneeled silently for 8 minutes and 46 seconds, the time a Minneapolis officer pressed his knee on George Floyd’s neck killing him on video.
“It was just wrong and I personally feel angry about that,” said Rashaad Burgess, member of Black Lives Matter Hawaii.
“I’m so happy that everyone is here supporting black lives. I couldn’t be more proud of this island right now,” said demonstrator Caitlyn Hughes.
Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell addressed the Oahu events in a news conference Friday morning on efforts to reopen the economy.
He said he’s been “assured that things are going to be peaceful.”
“I have confidence in the Honolulu Police Department, and I think they will be where they need to be just to make sure everything proceeds very safely,” Caldwell said.
Later in the day, the mayor took to Twitter to remind those attending the protest to wear cloth face masks and practice social distancing. “Let’s use this moment to push for change while still protecting each other from COVID-19,” he wrote.
Hawaii’s Attorney General also urged people to follow official sources of information instead of getting caught up in online rumors.