MAUI (Maui Now via KHON2) –TMT opponents staged a convoy Monday afternoon causing some delays for travelers at the Kahului airport.
The motorcade left Lahaina at around 1 p.m. and continued on to Central Maui, with additional participants joining in the convoy at designated points along the way.
The convoy comes amid heightened tensions atop Maunakea on Hawai?i Island where a demonstration against the Thirty Meter Telescope nears 60 days. On Friday, state crews removed an unpermitted structure near the demonstration site, tearing a Hawaiian flag in the process.
“I think when they cut the flag, it kind of brought out a different animal” said Maui convoy organizer Keeaumoku Kapu.
Organizers said demonstrators on every island is trying to strategically plan what would be the best method to address the issue.
So Maui, just right at the spare of the dime, we said okay, every island is assembling we need to do something, said Kapu. “And we need to something in a peaceful manner, to really implement that there is kapu aloha that is instilled in what we are doing”
Airport officials said they were expecting about 80 vehicles to circle the facility and had increased security patrols accordingly in coordination with Maui Police.
“Basically, we just want the traffic to be able to flow without disruption to the airport operation for passengers–both locals and visitors arriving and departing” said Marvin Moniz of the Kahului Airport
Many of the travelers that we spoke with said they experienced only minor delays in getting into the terminal and fairly short lines once within the airport facility itself.
“Today I’ve been coming here every week and traveling,” said Kauai resident Pomaikai Libre-Harris who is traveling. “Just getting here. It kind of took a while. But it wasn’t too bad. But coming down, coming closer, like five-10 minutes ago we were kind of just sitting there cruising.”
During a morning meeting organizers consulted with Maui police.
Authorities said it is lawful to drive through the area and utilize crosswalks.
However, it is unlawful to impede or stop traffic.
Several vehicles with flags were pulled over by police on the back side as the convoy circled around the terminal.
During a smaller demonstration convoy held in July, four motorists were cited for driving too slow through the airport area and impeding traffic flow.
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