Protests Surround First Day of APEC Climate Symposium

About 50 Protestors Demonstrate Peacefully But Vocally At East West Center

 UPDATED 11:16 PM HST Oct 17, 2011
HONOLULU -

Protestors said it was a preview of what's to come.

More than 50 protestors gathered for a vocal demonstration on the first day of a four-day APEC Climate Symposium at the East West Center on the University of Hawaii Manoa campus.

More than 50 scientists have come from around the Pacific Rim to share their knowledge on issues like global warming and climate change.

But today's meeting was partially eclipsed by the loud protests.

The grass-roots organizations started their protest across from the East West Center with a couple of speeches fronting the Kennedy Theatre. Protestors said APEC's focus on globalization can be counter-productive and even destructive to the interests and welfare of people at a local level.

"The people are not welcomed. It's all about the economy, it's all about corporations and there's absolutely nothing about people," said justice advocate, Kat Brady.

"And Hawaiians for example, need to be able to speak for themselves. But we're not at the table," said Lynette Cruz, of Hawaiian Independence Action Alliance.

Protestors armed with signs and their voices took their demonstration to the East West Center garden, where symposium participants were having their lunch inside.

Two security guards stood watch at the glass windows and Honolulu police surrounded the group while they protested.

Inside, curious participants stepped up to the window and even snapped photos of protestors outside as they chanted.

"And that's why the 99 percent are rising up because we want to be at the table, we need to be at the table. The community has incredible resources to offer and we demand to be there," Brady said.

Representatives from the Hawaiian Independence Action Alliance and World Can't Wait said this is just the beginning and they'll work to ensure their voices are heard next month when APEC kicks into full gear.

"We will be protesting and we will be advocating globalization with values and with justice and with respect for people and for labor," said Henry Curtis, protestor and economist.

The protest was peaceful. There were no altercations.

The Climate Symposium continues through Thursday.

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