Activists protest outside Chicago-based ‘Aloha Poke’

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CHICAGO -- Activists demonstrated again Monday over a controversial restaurant chain headquartered in Chicago.

Protesters marched in front of the corporate headquarters of Aloha Poke company following reports that the restaurant company had sent cease and desist letters to Hawaiian-owned shops that had the words "aloha" and "poke" in their names.

Native Hawaiians say they won't let themselves be bullied out of their own culture by a corporation.

Aloha Poke company denies it had tried to trademark the words.  The company claims the campaign against it is based on “misinformation” and says that people are free to use “aloha” and “poke,” they just can’t combine them in a restaurant name.

“We fully support the expression of free speech and their right to protest in a peaceful manner,” Aloha Poke Co. CEO Chris Birkinshaw told the Honolulu Star Adviser.

 

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