Anti-TMT activists hold another ‘rolling convoy’ on Oahu

Anti-TMT activists hold another ‘rolling convoy’ on Oahu
Police followed through on their promise to enforce traffic safety rules on banners and flags on vehicles. (Source: HNN)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Anti-TMT activists held another “rolling convoy” on Sunday, with hundreds of vehicles making the drive from West Oahu to the Windward side.

The convoy started in Kapolei at 8 a.m. Sunday, made its way through the North Shore, and ended at Kualoa Regional Park.

But with only 320 parking stalls at the park, police had to close the entrance gate at around 11:40 a.m.

“This is only half of the convoy, not even half,” said TMT opponent Annie Pedro. “Everybody else is stuck out there going on the side trying to wait to come in.”

No parking signs lined Kamehameha Highway near the park entrance, frustrating drivers who were looking for street parking once the lot was full.

“Every time we go to the Farm Fair, the street parking is all open. But all of a sudden, it says today there’s no parking out there, so half of our people had to leave because if they park on the side they were going to get tickets,” Pedro said.

“We knew that might have hard time finding parking for everyone, but as people leave they’re letting other people in,” said activist Shayna Noelani Dabis.

Sterling Pedro got a $97 ticket -- not for parking illegally -- but for having flags in the bed of his truck.

HPD says it has received numerous complaints about large flags and banners being flown from vehicles, and officials say the objects can be distracting and dangerous.

The law does require a driver’s view to be unobstructed and any object can not extend beyond the widest part of a vehicle.

“I tried to make sure (the flags) don’t come on the side and go into other cars,” said Pedro. “It is what it is.”

Unlike the previous demonstration, organizers did not seek a permit for Sunday’s convoy.

“Considering what happened at the last convoy, it made sense that we rolled as free citizens allowing traffic to come in and out without having any roving road closures," said organizer Jamie Rodrigues.

In September, Rodrigues received a special event permit from the city for up to 70 vehicles to travel from Hawaii Kai to Maili.

However, Rodrigues said the road closures made commuters very unhappy.

“We don’t want to do that again. We don’t want to inundate them again, make them feel uncomfortable, create unnecessary traffic,” she said.

A permit was issued for the rally at Kualoa Regional Park, and officials say the fee was waived because it is a First Amendment event.

TMT officials say they support the right to peaceful protest, but remain committed to building the telescope atop Mauna Kea.

Many who attended Sunday’s rally have also been on the front lines of other protests here on Oahu, and they say this is far from over.

“The people of Hawaii have been fighting against all these things for many many years and nobody listens, so we all have to stand up together and be unified in order to achieve it and vote. They will eventually have to listen to us,” said Dabis.

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