Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Iolani Palace takeovers—what’s next?

by Larry Geller

The brief occupation of Iolani Palace by Haiku residents Akahi Nui, and his wife, Akahi Wahine, and their supporters, may seem over, but somehow I don’t think so.

There are questions lingering, some related to the action itself and some to the security situation around the palace itself. Let’s dispose of those first.

Linda Lingle is making a big deal about HPD supposed inaction at the palace grounds. That remains to be sorted out, and even as I write this, a press conference is taking place over at Mufi’s place. We’ll learn more from that, I’m sure, as soon as the reporters file their stories.

My question, though, is: where exactly were DLNR police or security guards? Is it fair to shift the blame to HPD to cover up the lack of vigilance of the state itself? And the state is ultimately responsible for security at the site, not HPD. Yes, the state was asleep and so the palace could be occupied.

The question of whether an HPD officer acted appropriately should also be settled soon, but again, I wonder if there had been a prior jurisdictional agreement which clarified that HPD was not in charge there, or was supposed to call DLNR, or something like that. We’ll possibly find out.

Ok, back to the main event.

I am an outsider, but as an outsider I wonder what the purpose of the takeover action might have been. Had the king made his way to the throne room and actually tried to stay there, chained or not, he would have ultimately been removed. And he had to know that.

The action earned publicity across the country. Perhaps that was its objective. It even made last night’s Democracy Now:

Hawaiian Pro-Independence Activists Occupy Former Palace

Police arrested twenty-two pro-independence activists in Hawaii on Friday after they briefly took control of the grounds of the Iolani Palace, the former home of Hawaii’s last monarchs. The protesters were members of the Kingdom of Hawaii, a group that supports returning a monarchy to Hawaii. Another pro-independence group called the Hawaiian Kingdom Government occupied the Palace grounds in April.

So what next? Yesterday’s Advertiser story indicated that Akahi Nui and Akahi Wahine would be returning to Maui yesterday on the Superferry. Yet according to sources who wish to remain anonymous because…, heck, why does anyone have to have a reason to remain anonymous? Anyway, not everyone has left.

So perhaps there is more to this story. It feels very much as though the other shoe has not yet dropped.

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