The call came Monday at 10:51 a.m.: A large contingent of “heavily armed” police were massing at Saint Francis School.

A crossing guard tutorial, perhaps? A celebration of the Eucharist?

No, said the caller, Carolyn Hadfield of World Can’t Wait Hawaii.

“We figure it has something to do with the APEC meeting at East-West Center,” she said.

Hmmm.

Wasn’t there also a peaceful anti-APEC protest scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. at the University of Hawaii campus, too? That’s just two blocks from Saint Francis.

Civil Beat was on it!

Squad Cars and Laptops

Turns out that Hadfield was definitely correct about one thing: There were cops at Saint Francis.

Several squad cars were sitting together in an area of the parking lot set off by orange cones. Underneath a white tent about 10 cops, most of them in uniform, were talking, drinking bottled water and staring at the screens of laptop computers.

Asked what they were doing at Saint Francis — and whether it had something to do with APEC protests just down the road — an HPD sergeant declined to say. He directed inquiries to HPD Spokeswoman Michelle Yu, who said, “The officers at the school were not monitoring the protest but were available if needed.”

Civil Beat took some pics of the cops and their cars. As our intrepid reporter-host was leaving, a cop approached with a request.

“Can you not show our licenses plates?” he said.

‘Hi, Chad’

Meanwhile, at the grassy area mauka of Kennedy Theatre on the UH campus, about 30 protesters were holding signs and shouting slogans.

Several reporters and TV cameras were capturing the action. Campus security was there, too, as were a half dozen plain-clothes personnel from HPD, distinguishable by identifying arm bands.

“Hi, Chad,” one of them said to me.

It was Duane Samson with HPD Civil Affairs. I know this because I met him Oct. 8, when Occupy Oahu was protesting at the Chinatown Gateway Park.

“Hi,” I replied, and we talked story. Samson said the anti-APEC protest was peaceful.

I agreed, but had a question. Did Samson know anything about the cops and squad cars that were camping out about two blocks away?

Nope, he did not. He did know, however, that the protesters planned to march over to the Imin Center, where an APEC Climate Symposium was breaking for lunch.

I tagged along.

Once at the center, the protesters chanted things like, “Hey, APEC, listen up! The 99 are rising up!” They held cardboard signs that read things like “Shut APEC Down.”

The symposium folks stared back through glass walls, some taking pictures.

The first official APEC protest went smoothly.

If the cops at Saint Francis were indeed on standby, there was one security official for every two protesters.

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