Over 2 dozen arrested after demonstrators block construction crews from accessing Sherwood Forest
Due to the controversial project planned in Sherwood Forest, demonstrators were out in Waimanalo protesting Thursday morning.
The protests closed Kalanianaole Hwy in both directions. It is recommended to use Hihimanu St. as an alternate route.
Emotions ran high as 28 arrests were made from people blocking Kalanianaole Highway for several hours, but instead of a telescope, these protests were over a park at Sherwood Forest.
The redevelopment is something that neighbors have opposed from the beginning and organizers say it's also another example of places special to Hawaiians being under attack.
"The very existence and identity has been and is continually being threatened for 127 years and that's it what you guys are seeing today is just the exposure of all of the crimes being done to my people," said Save our Sherwoods President Kuike Kamakea-Ohelo.
Demonstrators were also out on Monday morning, sending that same message to the city -- that they are still against redevelopment in the area.
The city wants to turn the area into a regional sports complex. Some facilities include a multi purpose field, a parking lot and a playground.
Mayor Kirk Caldwell has said previously he doesn’t want to stop the work because it would cost the city $300,000 if it canceled the contract.
Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi will be addressing those arrests Thursday at 3 p.m.
Following the arrests, Mayor Caldwell defended the project.
"There are folks that you don't hear from. They may not be out on the road, but they want to see this project completed, and they've put a lot of time and effort into it," Mayor Caldwell said.
The Mayor says they're only moving forward with the first phase, consisting of a field, playground and parking lot, which is only 5% of the original plan.
"This administration is not going to proceed with the additional phases and I look at that as a compromise. I look at that as a huge compromise," Mayor Caldwell said.
He also says that the City will plant trees to replace the ones that were torn down, and they believe the section that it's being built on is away from the burial grounds.
For Councilwoman Kymberly Pine, that's not enough. She says from the beginning, the project never got enough public input.
"No destruction of a forest is worth tearing apart a community to build a park that nobody wants. Period," Councilwoman Pine said.
For now though, the project looks like it's moving ahead, but for protesters, the fight is just the beginning.
"I can't tell you if we'll be back tomorrow or the day after but I can tell you this. Today and every day forward we will aloha aina," Kamakea-Ohelo said.