POHAKULOA, Hawaii – There was a tense protest outside the gates of Pohakuloa Training Area this weekend. On Saturday, the Malu `Aina Center for Non-violent Education & Action – headed by Jim Albertini – staged a sign waving outside the 133,000 acre army installation.
Joining them were representatives from other groups, like Pua Case, Kalani Flores and Hawane Rios… no strangers to standing up for Hawaii’s lands. Across the highway, a large group of American flag waving veterans and patriots, standing in defense of Pohakuloa.
Things turned nasty on a few occasions. There some was shouting, and at one point a stolen sign almost resulted in a fight.
Albertini has always been opposed to what he calls the military’s occupation of the island, and his fight for answers over the past use of depleted uranium at Pohakuloa is well documented. But these days, he is especially concerned over the continued military buildup on the island. Recently, The United States Marine Corps announced plans for the construction of two new ranges at Pōhakuloa Training Area… an Urban Close Air Support Range; and an Aviation Bulls-Eye Range.
But across the street, expansion is not a concern. Instead, it was all about the troops.
This is not the last we will hear of this issue by any stretch. We were told that after the Merrie Monarch Festival concludes, a march of a thousand pahu drums is planned in protest of the sprawling military facility.