UPDATED 10/17/11 5 p.m.

A banner hanging from the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s John F. Kennedy Theatre read: “E Komo Mai – Welcome APEC.”

But the mood on Monday was not so welcoming to the upcoming 2011 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, planned for November. Hand painted cardboard signs leaned against the theater’s entrance: “APEC = Global Warming,” “Fair trade,” and “Capitalism sucks we need a revolution.”

More than 30 people gathered under the shade of the theatre and on the lawn nearby to protest APEC. The event the first of likely many protests leading up to the planned meeting that will bring business and government leaders from 21 countries to Honolulu.

Meanwhile, just two blocks away, about 10 Honolulu Police Department officers and their squad cars were camped out at the parking lot of Saint Francis School.

A police sergeant declined to tell a Civil Beat reporter exactly what HPD was doing, but the activity included monitoring several laptop computers from underneath a tent.

The cops told Civil Beat to call HPD Spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

“The officers at the school were not monitoring the protest but were available if needed,” Yu wrote in an email to Civil Beat.

Scientists and professors from the mainland, Australia, Korea and other countries were in Hawaii to attend a four-day APEC Climate Symposium on global warming at the East-West Center’s Thomas Jefferson Hall.

Honolulu resident Carolyn Hadfield held up a sign: “Stop Global Warming!” Hadfield joined other protesters on Monday to send a message to APEC as an activist with World Can’t Wait Hawaii.

“Because APEC has had a record of refusing to put in any measures to prevent global warming,” she said. “They’re talking about how to adjust their business plans to meet global warming. The issue of stopping global warming – if you look through the agenda – is not on it.”

UH Sociology professor Nandita Sharma opposed her university’s support for APEC. She held up two signs “APEC kills” and “APEC + Wall St Same Same.”

“I’m opposed to the APEC agenda that UH supports and I’m here to demonstrate that APEC is not going to get a free ride in Hawaii,” she said.

Five men dressed in plain clothes with arm bands identifying them as Honolulu police officers stood near the protesters while six campus security guards also kept watch.

Waianae resident JR Keoneakapu, 32, said he saw the protest as a perfect opportunity to raise awareness about Native Hawaiians.

“Statistically we are on the bottom of the totem pole for every statistic,” he said. “So it’s time for us Native Hawaiians to start raising our opinions and start getting more involved in critical issues that’s so important.”

As a lilikoi farmer, he also wanted to promote local agriculture.

When Keoneakapu blew into the pū, a bamboo horn, protesters began marching from the theatre to the back of Thomas Jefferson Hall.

They chanted in unison: “Hey APEC, listen up! The 99 are rising up!” and later, “APEC, Wall Street, Same Same.”

People inside the lunch room peered out from the glass windows to watch the protesters on the lawn holding up signs. Some inside the building snapped pictures of the protest. Two campus security stood in front of the protesters with their backs turned to the window.

Both Sharma and Hadfield said they plan to protest during the APEC meeting from Nov. 8 – 13.

“If we don’t, we’re betraying the people of the world,” Hadfield said. “In every city where APEC has met, there has been huge protests. And they chose Hawaii, because it is isolated and it is more difficult to have large protests here.”

Keoneakapu is still trying to decide whether he will protest next month.

“Right now I am going to say no, but I know that I might end up coming into town,” he said. “Actually, I want to. Now that I’m here, okay, maybe I should come in from Waianae to town.”

The protest, which started at noon, ended about an hour later.

Michael Tippett, a research scientist attending the symposium from Columbia University, said he watched the protests from inside the lunch room.

“We thought it was a little ironic, because one of the protesters had a sign that said ‘Stop global warming,’” he said. “One of the talks today was exactly about what should we be doing about climate change and what could be done and how can science help with that.”

Tippett said he doesn’t know a lot about the APEC meeting in November. Scientists who do care about climate change were the ones attending the symposium, he said.

“It seems like they were not quite targeting who they thought they were targeting,” he said.

—Chad Blair contributed to this story.

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