Hawaii’s weekend Black Lives Matter protests drew thousands statewide
HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Standing in solidarity with the national Black Lives Matter movement, thousands of Hawaii residents joined in protests across the islands this weekend.
About 10,000 people on Oahu took part in a rally at the state Capitol on Saturday, the biggest demonstration yet.
“This was pretty awesome man. This is my first protest. Just to be around it was very inspirational. I’m just happy to be around so many people from all walks of life," said Oscar Harris of Waipahu.
Imai Winchester of Manoa added:
“It inspires a lot of hope and it inspires a lot of pride and gives us a better vision of our future as a people,” he said.
On Sunday, a group lined Farrington Highway in Nanakuli to spread the same message.
“To see everyone come together today, and fight for one thing, that’s our black ohana," participant Quincy Richbow of Maili said. “Black lives matter... We’re standing together in this.”
On Kauai, a massive crowd gathered at the County Building Saturday. Mayor Derek Kawakami was among those calling for an end to racism in America. Similar events happened on Maui and Hawaii Island.
In Hilo, sign wavers lined Kamehameha Avenue calling for peace and unity.
But one of the larger demonstrations in the state took place on Oahu.
Masses of people packed into Ala Moana Beach Park for a march to the State Capitol. Honolulu police kept a watchful eye on the crowd that quickly swelled around noon.
HPD initially estimated 2,000 people attended, but by the early afternoon, the crowd had grown to about 10,000 participants.
Police put out a traffic alert for drivers to expect a slow down near Ala Moana Boulevard, Kapiolani Ave., Piikoi and Alapai Street.
“We have our problems but it’s not a systematic killing of unarmed men based on race," said Ken Lawson of the University of Hawaii Law School.
“Hawaii has a training problem with officers but what’s going on in our police department isn’t the same thing as what’s going on on the mainland.”
Added Matt Logan of Makiki:
“I believe the police officers here have more compassion. I’ve been here ten years and I haven’t experienced anything close to what these people (on the mainland) have experienced.”
The marches in Hawaii have remained peaceful, despite rumors of unrest circulating on social media, which have since been debunked by HPD and other officials.
“I wasn’t afraid to come here because I know it’s peaceful here in Hawaii," said Malia Schlesser of Moiliili.
The anger across America has grown over the last week since the murder of George Floyd.
On Friday, about 1,000 people on Oahu marched through Waikiki for a similar rally supporting the Black Lives Matter movement.
This story will be updated.
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