LIHU‘E — After three days of nearly nonstop protests at their Wainiha rental property, 15 members of Love Has Won received a police escort to Lihu‘e Airport Sunday in two waves.
Members of the religious nonprofit exited a rental house in Wainiha around noon on Sunday en route to the airport with a Kaua‘i Police Department convoy, including leaders Amy “Mother God” Carlson and Jason “Father God” Castello, who were later observed arriving on Maui.
Eleven additional members were escorted by police from the Kaua‘i Inn in Niumalu to the airport, including members who were still completing their 14-day, state-mandated quarantine, at 4:41 p.m.
Applause rang out from protesters and neighbors in Wainiha and Niumalu who sat down across the street to watch as the escort drove off.
Mahealani Chandler had been out protesting since Friday on the North Shore.
“I’ve been up for three days,” Chandler said, tired. She’s part of a core group of protesters, mostly women, concerned for the safety of their ‘ohana and island community. “We remain in kapu aloha.”
Protesters have found the group’s ideology to be predatory of vulnerable populations, vulgar and offensive in its appropriation of Hawaiian culture, with the group’s leader claiming to be the Hawaiian goddess of fire, Pele.
Word spread through the coconut wireless last week and Sunday about the group, and protesters first came out in force Friday to surround the beach-front rental.
However, peaceful protests turned rowdy Friday night, with reports of a firework being shot toward the house and damage to a brand new Honda Pilot that sat in the driveway. It is unclear whether the damage to the car and residence were done by protesters or members of the group.
Mayor Derek Kawakami arrived in Wainiha Saturday evening, telling protesters the county was negotiating with Love Has Won to leave the island. Five of seven members from the rental property left later that evening.
Protesters were relieved to see the group leave Sunday afternoon when Love Has Won leaders were escorted out of the North Shore by KPD. A smaller group of protesters then quickly turned their attention to Niumalu.
For over two and a half hours, protesters stood, viligiant, outside the Kaua‘i Inn.
Around 4 p.m., one Love Has Won member changed in the parking lot from shorts to jeans behind a towel draped over an open car door. Protesters called out “indecent exposure.”
A KPD officer said, “People change on the beach all the time.”
Michael Dahilig, county managing director, stood with KPD officers, facilitating. Dahilig told protesters he was trying to make sure the group could leave the island safely.
Dahilig said he was there on a personal basis, and directed questions to county public information officers, who did not respond to requests for comment by presstime.
The brand new Honda Pilot, with a cracked front windshield and no back window, was towed away with nonessential belongings from the Kaua‘i Inn, as it was deemed too dangerous to drive.
The 11 members were said to be boarding a 6:55 p.m. flight to Honolulu Sunday, and as heard on the police scanner around 5:36 p.m., officers were ensuring members boarded the flight.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.