‘Occupy’ protesters plan march on Honolulu APEC summit
HONOLULU — The killing of a Hawaiian man by a US State Department security agent has galvanized anti-globalization activists who said Thursday they plan to march on a weekend summit of Asia-Pacific leaders here.
But activists and security officials said a repeat of the large “occupy” protests that started on Wall Street and went global looked unlikely due to smothering security and the remoteness of the summit location in Honolulu.
President Barack Obama was to arrive late Friday for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, which brings together leaders of its 21 members including Obama’s Chinese and Russian counterparts, and corporate chieftains.
With its sun-kissed beaches and laid-back spirit, Honolulu is not known for protests but local activists are preparing to march in solidarity with other demonstrators around the world when the summit kicks into high gear Saturday.
“Our position is basically that free-trade policies are not benefiting 99 percent of the people here or anywhere in the world, and they shouldn’t be pushed forward here by corporate leaders,” said Megan Brooker, an organizer with Occupy Honolulu.
Obama chose his birthplace as the summit site but the selection has prompted grumbling over draconian security and related inconveniences, as well as the rousting of the city’s legions of homeless people from public spaces.
The questions grew after a local man was shot and killed by a State Department agent who was in Hawaii to provide APEC security.
Christopher Deedy, 27, was charged with second-degree murder for the shooting of Kollin Elderts, 23, in an altercation early last Saturday morning. Reports have indicated that Deedy and the victim were inebriated.
Local opposition to APEC “is due to many factors: the security, oppression, the homeless, but certainly now also the shooting,” said Liz Rees, an organizer for activist group World Can’t Wait, which staged a march by dozens of people Tuesday calling for justice in the case.
Activists have already staged several small anti-APEC actions but large-scale disruptions looked unlikely, said Special Agent Tom Simon of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Honolulu field office.
“It’s an expensive prospect to get to Hawaii from anywhere else in the world so we are not expecting the giant throngs of protesters we have seen at other major international trade meetings,” he said.