Report back from Hawaii’s World Bank/Asian Development Bank Protests
by Wayson Chow, Chair of the Hawaii Chapter
On Wednesday, May 9, 2001, after a year of police militarization, intimidation, and nearly $8 million purchases of riot gear, and repeated warnings of violence, five to eight hundred protesters, accompanied by nearly two dozen legal observers, wearing the NLG’s infamous lime green baseball caps, peacefully marched in a three hour March for Global Justice, throughout the streets of Honolulu, and Waikiki, opposing the World Bank/Asian Development Bank’s projects.
Following the Seattle WTO Mobilization, and Seattle’s reluctance to host subsequent international conferences, Hawaii’s Governor and Mayor invited the ADB, hoping to transform Honolulu, into the "Geneva of the Pacific." NLG Hawaii Chapter members helped organize and coordinate a progressive united front legal team for ADB Watch, incorporating legal observers, criminal defense attorneys network, and the American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii. In mid-April, ACLU attorneys filed a complaint for injunctive and declaratory relief in United States District Court in Honolulu, Hawaii, on behalf of the NLG Hawaii Chapter, ADB Watch, the International Longshoreman and Warehousemen’s Union–Local 142, and other individuals, challenging the City and County of Honolulu, the Honolulu Police Department, and the State of Hawaii’s refusal to allow a parade and protests adjacent to the ADB convention site at the Hawaii Convention Center, a state financed, and state owned facility built for the benefit of Waikiki hotels. Shortly thereafter, the City and County of Honolulu, State of Hawaii, and ADB Watch supporters entered a consent decree, protecting the demonstrators’ constitutional rights to protest, within eyesight and ear shot of the ADB attendees, and to march through Waikiki.
The week long events preceding the March for Global Justice unified Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians), World Bank-ADB protestors from Asia, environmentalists, labor union members, and human rights activists, in opposition to globalization, imperialism, militarization, and the ADB’s "free market" large scale infrastructure projects, which adversely impacts grass roots indigenous people internationally and in Hawaii.
Many thanks for the tremendous assistance, encouragement, and support from Guild members and Guild chapters in San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Seattle, as well as the Guild’s National office.