Saturday, May 5, 2001

This woman had to run for it yesterday when she found out,
after she crossed Atkinson Drive, the sidewalk was barricaded.
The barricades, set up in preparation for the Asian Development
Bank meeting next week, go around the convention center.
If you cannot jump them, you are stuck with walking on the street.

Barriers at
convention center
send pedestrians
into the street

Barricades for Monday's
ADB Conference block the
sidewalks all around
the center

By Leila Fujimori

The 3-foot-high plastic barriers surrounding the sidewalks outside the Hawaii Convention Center posed little problem for 6-foot-7 Amir Konjevic, who hopped right over them.

ADB Conference Logo But Mika Suzuki and her two friends were walking on the right merge lane on Kalakaua Avenue during rush-hour traffic yesterday. When they crossed Kapiolani Boulevard along Kalakaua heading home to Waikiki, the plastic barrier blocking the sidewalk presented an obstacle too formidable, so they were forced to walk on the street.

Suzuki said she thought the barricades were dangerous and wondered why they were there.

The orange-and-white barriers went up yesterday in preparation, to keep protesters from using the sidewalks while the Asian Development Bank meeting is held from Monday through Friday.

The center has secured a permit for exclusive use of the sidewalks surrounding the facility during the ADB meeting.

"If they (protesters) want to get over, I don't think it will stop them," Konjevic said of the barricades.

Inside the center, exhibitors were setting up displays.

"I don't expect there to be any violence," said Mel Labrador, who was setting up a U.S. government exhibit for a Web site to network the Asia-Pacific defense and security communities. "It's Hawaii. It's very peaceful."

Meanwhile, about eight members of protest group ADBwatch gathered yesterday afternoon at the Honolulu Zoo in front of the Gandhi statue to sign a code of nonviolence for their planned protests.

"We don't think they need all the security because we're organizing ourselves," said Joshua Cooper, an organizer of ADBwatch, a coalition of groups that oppose the bank's policies.

Alli Starr, a member of a political theater group from San Francisco, was coloring a beach mat to form a sign.

"We're lending a hand to create an action and help build images about the violence perpetrated by ADB," she said. "In San Francisco, we're concerned with displacement of the working class. Similarly, ADB has displaced people all over the world. ... The rich benefits off the backs of the poor."

The ADB is an international organization that funds development projects in Third World nations.

Gov. Ben Cayetano said Hawaii's ability to host the conference will be critical to the state's international reputation.

"If the meeting is successful, it will open the doors to more high-level meetings and establish Hawaii as a place where leaders of the world can meet in comparative security, in a civil atmosphere with all the advantages of technology available," he said yesterday.

"I think security will be kept to a minimum; people will be able to exercise their rights," he said. "We don't expect some of those crazy groups from the mainland to come here. If they do, we will be ready for them."

Asian Development Bank

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