It was 11am and as invited guests signed in and went through heavy security prior to John Kerry's arrival at the East-West Center on the University of Hawai`i campus, more than a 100 protesters began gathering in front of the center. Most held signs in solidarity with the people of Palestine: "Free Palestine," "End U.S. Support for Israel," "U.S. Support for Israel = Death in Gaza," "De-Occupy Hawai`i; De-Occupy Palestine" and many more. A colorful 12-foot banner read: "Kerry: You Have Blood on Your Hands! End U.S. Support for Israel.! A small group of Hawaiian nationalists held a "Free Hawai`i" banner.
The protest was remarkable for its diversity, its passion, and its energy.
Before Kerry arrived more than 8 speakers took the microphone at a short rally Their statements were short, strong, and clear.. A young Palestinian speaker spoke of her own personal experience, emphasizing that Israel's current assault on Gaza does not have to do with differences in religion, or history, but is instead political. A representative from Aloha No ka ʻĀina (MANA) condemned Israel's occupation of Palestine and assault on Gaza, as well as the occupation and militarization of Hawai`i. A UH student from the Middle East called on faculty and students to come together in support of the Palestinian people. Rev. Neal McPherson, a member of Friends of Sabeel and F.A.C.E, denounced Israel's immoral and unjust war against the people of Palestine. World Can't Wait-Hawai`i activists exposed Kerry's hypocrisy and called for protesters to hold him, as well as the Obama administration, accountable for war crimes.
As Kerry's caravan approached at nearly 1pm and attempted to sneak into the back side of the East-West Center, protesters maneuvered into positions where their signs couldn't be missed, chanting: "John Kerry, You Can't Hide - We Charge You With Genocide" and "From the River to the Sea, "Palestine Must Be Free." Kerry couldn't have missed the signs and chants (which most of the mainstream media refused to cover or even acknowledge).
That more than 100 people came out during the workday, and when UH was not in session, gave evidence to the strength many in Hawai`i have with the Palestinian people.
Following are a few photos: