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Nuttiness in Hawaii: Ethnic separatists take over palace

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By Michelle Malkin  •  May 1, 2008 09:17 AM

I’ve been keeping tabs on the Native Hawaiian secessionist movement for a while now. When last we visited the subject, the Aloha State’s GOP elite were pushing the agenda.

Now, things have taken a new, unhinged turn. The ethnic separatists have taken over a historic palace and are barring all non-Hawaiians from entering. Malia Zimmerman, editor of the Hawaii Reporter, e-mails:

Our Iolani Palace has been taken over by Hawaiian sovereignty activists since 5:30 a.m. and the state is sort of at a standoff with them. The protesters want the palace returned to the Hawaiian kingdom and the kingdom reinstated.

Several state employees were locked inside their offices this morning in an adjoining state archive building and were eventually released but they cannot get their cars out of the parking lot because the activists won’t let them. School children scheduled to see the palace today were turned away.

The state sheriffs have not arrested the 35 activists, and one said to one of our contributing writers that he is “on their side” and won’t shut down the protest. I called the Department of Land and Natural Resources director Laura Thielen and got her assistant. Thielen made a statement this morning about the hostile takeover, but has not issued an update since. They (all the relevant state directors) are all in meetings – I was told – trying to decide what to do. The protesters are not armed, as far as we know, and at least one we tracked down has a criminal record for DUI and harassment, so I don’t know what the problem is. Arrest them and let everyone get back to work. The whole thing is being really badly handled by our law enforcement and our state.

This is a letter from a retired police officer here named Earl Arakaki – he sent it just minutes ago: “What these people did is comparable to what Gov. Faubus did with Arkansas schools in the late 1950s – refusing entry on state property based on race. That is a constitutional violation. Honolulu Police Department, State Sheriffs and even Federal law enforcement took an oath to defend the U.S. and State of Hawaii Constitutions. Why no action! At the very least these racist should have been first warned to cease. If they refuse then at least arrested for HIndering Government Operations as Iolani Palace and Offices are state of Hawaii government property. At the most they should have been arrested for civil rights violations based on race. I don’t know who is worse – the government officials who fail to act, or the racist occupants.”

Full report here.

MSM coverage from the Honolulu Advertiser suggests that the trespassers will get away with a slap on the wrist. If that:

A Hawaiian sovereignty group occupied the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace, locked the gates and blocked non-Hawaiians from entering for about eight hours yesterday to protest the U.S.-backed overthrow of the Hawaiian government more than a century ago.

The protest was conducted by the Hawaiian Kingdom Government, one of several groups that claim to be the successor government of Hawai’i. The group said it will return to the palace today but will not lock the gates.

No arrests were made yesterday and the protest ended peacefully with the group removing the locks it had placed on the gates at around 5:30 a.m.

Extra security will be on hand this morning to ensure the gates will not be locked again, said Laura Thielen, head of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which has jurisdiction over the palace grounds.

A number of symbolic protests have been staged on the palace grounds to draw attention to Native Hawaiian issues, some with the consent of palace officials. But yesterday’s action went further than most by actually locking the gates to the palace grounds and shutting down not just the former residence of Hawaiian royalty but also the State Archives Building.

Thielen said it has not been decided what, if any, charges would be filed against the group or its members. “That depends. We’ll remain assessing the situation and see what happens,” she said.

The P.C. virus isn’t confined to the mainland.

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Commenter RaisedRight asks a good question: “Has Obama ever talked about this issue? He did grow up in Hawaii and it is an issue of race.”

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Background on the Hawaiian secessionist movement here, here, here, here, here, and here.

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