“APEC is just going to be a mess” – Sweeping security frustrates residents

Today, there was a protest at the first APEC event in Honolulu, a symposium on climate change:

“People’s need not corporate greed,” chanted protestors.

About 30 people from various groups marched and chanted outside an APEC meeting at Jefferson Hall at the East West Center.  Then they went around back to the windows where they couldn’t be missed by the participants inside eating lunch.

“APEC, Wall Street, same same,” went another chant.

As Hawaii News Now reports, “Groups are calling APEC the perfect storm when you mix world leaders with the Occupy Wall Street movement, APEC protests and possible union strikes.”  But government officials are imposing an  unprecedented level of security that will make APEC extremely disruptive to local residents and will set the tone of government restriction of speech in future events.

The Civil Beat published a report on the ACLU’s efforts to protect the right to free speech during the APEC summit.   The lack of transparency regarding security zones is making it extremely difficult for anyone to make plans for normal activities, much less protected speech.  The City says that it will allow for protest and free speech. However by restricting use of many public spaces, it has made it very difficult to plan for protests. The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports:

Exactly how and where protests will be allowed is being determined. While the city said it intends to provide opportunities for exercise of free speech, it also has accommodated requests for city, state and federal use of several public areas to stage emergency vehicles. Those areas include Ala Moana Beach Park, Ala Wai Promenade, Ala Wai Community Park, Ala Wai Golf Clubhouse, Kapiolani Park and Kamokila Community Park.

A city spokeswoman said all of the plans for using the park areas are awaiting final approval and could change based on the needs of law enforcement and security for APEC.

At least one group, World Can’t Wait-Hawaii, had requested a permit to gather at the Ala Wai Promenade, where it demonstrated during the 2001 ADB conference. After initially being denied a permit, the group reached an agreement — with the intervention of the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii — to access part of the promenade that will be shared with law enforcement.

Recently, the Coast Guard released its proposed rule to create ocean exclusion zones for APEC.  These zones will prohibit people from using popular beaches and surf spots, a major recreational boat harbor and canoe paddling area:

Temporary Security Zones for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Conference, http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2011-10-06/pdf/2011-25855.pdf
The Coast Guard is establishing four temporary security zones on the navigable waters of O‗ahu‘s southern and western shores in support of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) conference in O‗ahu, Hawai‗i. The establishment of these security zones is necessary to ensure the safety of all APEC attendees to include the President of the United States, as well as numerous foreign dignitaries and senior government officials. Entry into the temporary security zones established by this rule is prohibited unless authorized by the Coast Guard Captain of the Port, Honolulu, or her designated representatives. This rule will be effective from 11 p.m. HST on November 9, 2011 through 11 p.m. HST on November 16, 2011. The § 165.T14–0800 (a)(2) and (4) security zones, West Waikiki and Ala Wai Harbor and Canal, will be enforced from 11 p.m. HST on November 9, 2011, through 11 p.m. HST on November 16, 2011. The § 165.T14–0800 (a)(1) security zone, Koʻolina Offshore, will be enforced from 11 p.m. HST on November 12, 2011, to 11 p.m. HST on November 13, 2011. The § 165.T14–0800 (a)(3) security zone, East Waikiki, will be enforced from 12 a.m. HST to 11 p.m. HST on November 12, 2011. Comments and related material must be submitted to the Coast Guard no later than October 17, 2011. You may submit comments identified by docket number USCG–2011–0800 using any one of the following methods:

(1) Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov/;

(2) Fax: 202–493–2251;

(3) Mail: Docket Management Facility (M–30), U.S. Department of Transportation, West Building Ground Floor, Room W12–140, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590–0001; or

(4) Hand delivery: Same as mail address above, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. The telephone number is 202–366–9329. To avoid duplication, please use only one of these four methods (see, 76 F.R. 61950, October 06, 2011).

(From the Environmental Notice)

The Honolulu Star Advertiser reports that sweeping APEC security measures are only slowly being revealed.   But what has been disclosed has already disrupted the lives and activities of many residents and businesses:

As details about security for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting begin to trickle out, local residents are discovering that delays, disruptions and displacements will accompany President Barack Obama, 20 other heads of state and thousands of attendees when they descend on Oahu next month.

The Nov. 7-13 event will close roads and snarl traffic, consume parking spaces and close access to public places, especially in Waikiki, where world leaders and their delegations will fill rooms in about 11 hotels. And it will disrupt access at key meeting sites like the Hale Koa Hotel and the J.W. Marriott Ihilani Ko Olina Resort & Spa, which will be shielded by 10-foot-high barricades.

[…]

“APEC has brought us extreme high security with no information and lots of inconvenience. APEC will bring millions into our state so people are trying to overlook everything, all in the name of money,” said Les Among, a Waikiki Neighborhood Board member.

[…]

APEC security has already forced the World Invitational Hula Festival to make a last-minute venue change to the Blaisdell Concert Hall from the Waikiki Shell, where it has a 20-year history of shows over the Veterans Day holiday.

“I was told that (APEC) wasn’t going to use the Shell, so no problem. But now they are using all of the parking, so it’s impossible,” said Paulie Jennings, the hula festival’s 81-year-old executive producer, who is scrambling to save her Nov. 10-12 event after learning about the change on Sept. 30.

“We thought APEC was going to be a good way to sell tickets,” Jennings said. “We didn’t know the State Department was going to take over Hawaii. If they didn’t think that we all lived in grass houses, they would have let us know much sooner.”

[…]

Board member Among said he has fielded numerous calls from dissatisfied residents. “APEC is just going to be a mess,” he said, adding that concerns have surfaced about harbor use, traffic, lack of parking and access to Waikiki.

Increasingly, APEC is beginning to look less like a conference and more like an invasion.

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