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Marchers demand 'no nukes'

Worker's World
September 14, 1995

By Deirdre Griswold

Visitors to Hawai`i's famed Waikiki Beach werereminded Sept. 3 that tests of humanity's most awesome anddestructive weapons are once again threatening the peoples of theSouth Pacific.

Many tourists cheered and some, particularly Japanese, joined a1,500-strong column of anti-nuclear marchers as it passedHonolulu's luxury beachfront hotels. The protesters wound theirway from Ala Moana Park to Kapi`olani Park, where President BillClinton was speaking.

Some marchers were from Tahiti and other islands of Polynesiawhere French imperialism rules with colonial arrogance. At thetime of the protest, France had announced its intention toexplode seven or eight nuclear bombs at Mururoa Atoll beginningsome time in September.

The first bomb was detonated on Sept. 5.

Sovereignty and no nukes

A strong contingent in the Honolulu march came fromthe group Nation of Hawai`i, which is struggling for sovereignty.Its members carried a banner reading "Jail nukes, free Bumpy," inreference to the recent arrest of their leader, Dennis "Bumpy"Kanahele.

Kanahele refuses to accept U.S. government jurisdiction over theHawai`ian people.

Other sovereignty groups were also present. The Pro-Kanaka MaoliIndependence Working Group distributed a special newsletterdevoted to stopping nuclear explosions in the Pacific.

Many slogans and chants linked the anti-nuclear struggle with thenational rights of the Pacific island peoples.

The march was called by the Hawai`i Coalition Against NuclearTesting and was endorsed by 46 organizations across the politicalspectrum. Coalition leaders wanted to focus only on the Frenchtesting and hoped to get a friendly audience with Clinton, whowas speaking at the Waikiki Shell at a V-J Day Commemoration.

National Security Adviser Anthony Lake, saying "there wasapparently a mixup" that prevented the president from meeting adelegation from the coalition, spoke briefly instead with severalelected officials. Lake said he would "pass on their concerns"about the French testing to Clinton.

But the Honolulu Advertiser of Sept. 4 had to admit that theshouts of the demonstrators "turned the heads of many audiencemembers while Clinton spoke."

Clinton's trip to Hawai`i was accompanied by an orgy of eventsglorifying the U.S. military--which occupies a big percentage ofHawai`ian land and stores nuclear weapons and waste at PearlHarbor, right next to the metropolis of Honolulu.

U.S. nuclear threat

A statement to the demonstration by Sane NuclearFreeze Hawai`i restored some balance on where the main nuclearthreat comes from.

After supporting the struggle against the French testing, it wenton to point out: "But today, the occasion of Bill Clinton's visitto Hawai`i, we must face the fact that France is really just aminor supporting actor in this very real theater of nuclearterror which has haunted humanity throughout the last half of the20th century.

"The main character, the `star of the show,' is and always hasbeen the United States."

The vast Pentagon nuclear arsenal and the development of newweapons systems, the statement said, "has continued under bothRepublican and Democratic administrations and Congresses." This"encourages other countries, especially those in competition withthe U.S. for overseas markets and resources, or those mostimmediately threatened by the U.S. quest for global military andeconomic hegemony, to build and maintain their own arsenals."

Yoon Bok-Dong of the U.S. Out of Korea Committee and one of theorganizers of the march also pointed out in a statement that "theUnited States opened the nuclear era in the Pacific with thebombs dropped on civilians at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, its nucleartesting at Bikini atoll, and the threats by Gen. DouglasMacArthur to drop the bomb on Korea during the U.S. war againstthat country."

Yoon called for "U.S. troops and nukes out of Korea and Hawai`i!"

Both groups also strongly supported the struggle for Hawai`iansovereignty.


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