20 held in palace takeover attempt

20 held in palace takeover attempt http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080816/NEWS01/808160334/-1/RSS02 Group occupies ‘Iolani grounds, allegedly assaults staffer on Statehood Day By Suzanne Roig and Gordon Pang Advertiser Staff Writers Police and state law enforcement officers last night arrested 20 members of a group that occupied ‘Iolani Palace grounds yesterday and broke into the palace as staff members locked themselves inside. Members of the group struck a female palace staff member, causing minor injuries. They also locked gates around the palace, broke into the adjacent ‘Iolani Barracks building and raised their flag on the barracks flagpole. The group issued a statement claiming to have “reoccupied the throne of Hawai’i.” Its leader was identified as Akahi Nui. The action took place on Statehood Day, an observance of Hawai’i becoming the 50th state on Aug. 21, 1959. The group is unrelated to the Hawaiian Kingdom Government, which has occupied part of the palace grounds since April. State law enforcement officers and police officers entered the palace grounds about 8:30 p.m. and began arresting the group’s members, who did not resist. Laura H. Thielen, director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said the palace will be closed to the public at least through the weekend while officials assess damage. DLNR oversees the palace. “We intend to charge them to the fullest extent of the law,” Thielen said. A spokesman for the group, Delano Muller, said it was unfortunate that some members chose to break into the palace. “They should have gone in diplomatically. Now the king is in jail and he left with his hands cuffed,” Muller said. Earlier yesterday, Kippen de Alba Chu, executive director of the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace, said he and six other staff members were “in lockdown” in the palace and a nearby administration building, including the woman who was assaulted. She suffered scrapes but was not seriously injured, he said. “These guys are threatening to go in the palace,” said Chu, reached by phone. “There’s about 25 of them. They’ve got a king and the king wants to sit on the throne. “This is pretty serious; it’s pretty intense here.” He said he understood a police officer standing nearby did nothing as his staff member was being assaulted, despite her requests for help. “I thought they took an oath to protect the public,” Chu said. Notices were posted about 4:30 p.m. by about a dozen men wearing red polo shirts with yellow lettering stenciled with “security” on the back. One of the men, who would not give his name, told The Advertiser: “We’re going to be here for a while. Four days, five days, a week. A while. As long as it takes.” All the palace gates were locked with chains, and signs were posted on the fence that read: “This is Royal Property of the Kingdom and is off limits to all unauthorized personnel. Only those with special passes may enter these grounds. All others must acquire permit of passage. Signed by order of the King Akahi Nui. Alfred Love.” ‘Police … did nothing’ At one point, witnesses said, three men shoved aside a palace employee as she attempted to allow someone onto the grounds. The incident occurred near the diamondhead-side gate. A witness, attorney James Wright, said the men struck the employee and slammed her into a gate in front of a police officer. All the officer said is “this is not HPD jurisdiction,” Wright said. Wright said the woman was attempting to escort him onto the grounds when three men began to assault her. “They hit her and hit her and hit, and the police sergeant stood there and did nothing,” Wright said. While they were not punching her, “they were slamming her against the post and then slamming the gate on her,” he said. “And the police officer did nothing to protect her. The cop literally walked away while she was still being pushed around.” Wright said: “They said she could leave but no one could come in.” He said the woman did nothing to fight back except to shout “stop hitting me” and “stop assaulting me.” During the early days of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government occupation of the palace lawn, Thielen had also expressed frustration at the seeming refusal of HPD to intervene in its interaction with the sovereignty group. About 6:30 p.m., the group let reporters onto the palace grounds for about an hour. A spokesman, Alfred Love, said he was a federal marshal. He said he “placed the kingdom under federal protective custody” and has asked the U.S. Congress to determine that the 1893 overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawaii was illegal. “Our plan is to take the palace for the crown,” Love said. “Our flag is now over the guard house, the flag has not flown since before 1892. We plan to be here forever.” Akahi Nui is identified as the king of Hawai’i on the Web site www.freehawaii.org, which describes the group as “advocates of the restoration of Hawaiian Sovereignty under His Royal Majesty Akahi Nui, heir to the Hawaiian throne.” The Web site states that Akahi Nui is a great-nephew of Queen Lili’uokalani. It goes on to describe him as “acknowledged by major sovereignty groups; recognized as Hawaii’s King by the World Court; recognized by the United Nations …” The Web site also states that “what the Hawaiians had and Majesty wishes to restore is a Constitutional Monarchy. A King who loves and respects his people is better than an elected official, who’ll do anything to satisfy the 50.001 (percent) and maintain his personal power.” Further, “(r)emember it was a Monarchy that was illegally overthrown … Hawaii’s best chance of regaining their sovereignty would be under a similar system. Having once regained sovereignty they would, under their constitution, be able to establish ANY form of government they choose.” At the palace yesterday afternoon, the group was distributing leaflets that read: “Majesty Akahi Nui, the King of Hawaii, has now reoccupied the throne of Hawaii. The Kingdom of Hawaii is now reenacted. “The Iolani Palace is a federally protected area. Any conversation may be recorded and submitted to the U.S. Congressional record for investigation purposes. The King and Queen of Hawaii, and the Kingdom of Hawaii, is now under a condition of federal protective custody. “The State of Hawaii, and all persons thereof, is now under a condition of federal arrest. Under no circumstances shall they, nor anyone else, violate the protective custody order. There shall be no action which may harm or endanger the welfare of the Kingdom or the people of either the Kingdom of Hawaii or the United States. “No persons shall be admitted onto the Iolani Palace grounds without authorized consent from the Royal Marshal or the King. “All special requests shall be done in writing, and hand delivered to the King by the Marshal. “By Order of The Provost” Previous occupation Akahi Nui and the members of the group are not the only ones claiming to be the rightful government occupying the palace. Since April 30, the Hawaiian Kingdom Government has occupied the mauka, ‘ewa-side lawn of the palace. After locking out selected members of the public for several hours that day, the group has since “conducted business” on the lawn during standard office hours nearly every weekday, including the Fourth of July. That group states it follows Hawaiian Kingdom Law but has also continued to submit a weekly application to occupy the lawn from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction over the palace grounds. It is believed that the Hawaiian Kingdom Government’s actions stirred the Board of Land and Natural Resources to propose rules governing the use of the grounds. A hearing on the proposed rules took place in Honolulu Wednesday night. Staff writer Rick Daysog contributed to this report. Reach Suzanne Roig at sroig@honoluluadvertiser.com.]]>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *