Wednesday, March 14, 2012


Honolulu police stage 3 a.m. raid on Occupy encampment, confiscate belongings

by Larry Geller

Honolulu police hid under cover of darkness and raided Occupy Honolulu at 3 a.m. this morning (March 14, 2012). The early-morning raid assured that no media would be present to report on the police action.

Occupy Honolulu maintains a live-stream, which did catch the action as police confiscated tents and other belongings.. The video is posted on this web page and also below..

Although Honolulu's new law requires that the items be returned to their owners, there are reports that the city has refused to do so recently.

Police seized literature and art from the encampment along with tents and personal possessions while Madori Rumpungworn recited the Kanawai Mamalahoe, the Law of the Splintered Paddle, which is incorporated into the State Constitution and guarantees that all who lie by the roadside be undisturbed.

[The Doug Note, Police seize tents and personal possessions on day 130 Occupy Honolulu, 3/14/2012]

The Law of the Splintered Paddle is part of Hawaii’s state constitution and derives from Kingdom law.  Article IX Section 10 reads:  “The law of the splintered paddle, mamala-hoe kanawai, decreed by Kamehameha I--Let every elderly person, woman and child lie by the roadside in safety--shall be a unique and living symbol of the State's concern for public safety.”

Regardless of arguments that this provision is an anachronism, it remains in force in the state constitution. The assertion can be made that the newly passed municipal law, “"Bill 54,” under which the police confiscated the property of Occupy campers, directly violates this article of Hawaii’s constitution.

For those interested in the Law of the Splintered Paddle, here it is in both the original Hawaiian and in English:

The complete original 1797 law in Hawaiian:

Kānāwai Māmalahoe :

E nā kānaka,
E mālama ‘oukou i ke akua
A e mālama ho‘i ke kanaka nui a me kanaka iki;
E hele ka ‘elemakule, ka luahine, a me ke kama
A moe i ke ala
‘A‘ohe mea nāna e ho‘opilikia.

Hewa nō, make.

—Kamehameha I

English translation:

Law of the Splintered Paddle:

Oh people,
Honor thy god;
Respect alike [the rights of] people both great and humble;
May everyone, from the old men and women to the children
Be free to go forth and lay in the road (i.e. by the roadside or pathway)
Without fear of harm.

Break this law, and die.

Click the thingy at the lower right for full screen.


Update: This article was posted at and tweeted 7:12 p.m. 3/14. The Star-Advertiser posted a short “breaking news” article at 9:36 p.m. A very short mention was on page 2 of today’s (March 15) paper credited to “Star-Advertiser staff.” Of course, the original article was posted on The Doug Note at 12:49 p.m. on 3/14 after processing the video, etc.  The S-A “staff” wasn’t there. I think we need to recognize the role of citizen journalism.  Keep the article coming, Doug.


A belated thanks for this. One of the things that makes me think Honolulu's Occupy movement is on the right track is that as you can see in the video, much of the vocal resistance to the police is by young women. This ain't some kind of patriarchal feudalistic hierarchical structure. On the other hand, much of Hawaii's progressive movements have been led by women so perhaps this isn't that much of a surprise..? Again mahalo!

Please note: They are not even following their own Resolution 11-029, formerly Bill 54. They are taking items that were not tagged. They also are not supposed to take items of political expression. They get around this by illegally dragging the items into park property and then confiscating them for being within the park during park closure hours.
People are also supposed to be able to reclaim their items, but it's obvious from the video that perfectly good tents were broken and smashed to be disposed.

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