DeOccupy Honolulu issued the following press release today regarding this evening’s Thomas Square meeting.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DeOccupy Prepares for Critical Town Hall Meeting
Suspicion Rises Around City’s Motives
In 1843, Kamehameha III created Thomas Square for the people of Hawaiʻi in commemoration of the restoration of Hawaii’s sovereignty after an illegal takeover by England was undone by the British government. The famous saying, “Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono” (The sovereign life-force of the land continues through righteous action), was spoken on the day that sovereignty was restored, which is still celebrated by Independence advocates as Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea.
Today, Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell makes plans for the 170th anniversary of Thomas Square, erecting over 60 obtrusive, non-native concrete planters on the Beretania sidewalk in reaction to protests by DeOccupy Honolulu and houseless residents on the sidewalk. This criminalization of the houseless comes with no acknowledgment of the current illegality of his own government – which, unlike the British, has yet to return Hawaiʻi’s independence and respect the rights of its people.
City and County workers closed down the entire Beretania and King St. walkways, all the while avoiding the Makiki Neighborhood Board and its own regulations, and bypassing public input entirely. Park-goers express that the sidewalk construction is hazardous and question the intentions of the Mayor, who maintains that these efforts are for beauty and Hawaiian history – although no experts on either of these appear to have had any input. DeOccupy protesters and the houseless experience this as oppression of their rights to livelihood, free speech and assembly. Indigenous Hawaiian residents notice the Mayor’s lack of respect for the park’s history and Kānāwai Māmalahoe (the Law of the Splintered Paddle), a sacred law that is also part of the Hawaiʻi State Constitution and protects those who must “sleep by the road.”
Tent-dwellers around Thomas Square have made a point to carefully follow the American Disabilities Act and allow 36 inches of space for pedestrians, while the new planters and shrubs force people into a narrow alleyway that violate wheelchair accessibility. “It’s very dangerous,” says a wheelchair-bound park regular, “I would visit DeOccupy here and the tents never got in the way. Now there’s only room for one person at a time, going one way. There is no space for people to make room for each other. It’s very inconvenient.”
DeOccupy Honolulu will be attending the Mayor’s Town Hall meeting at the Doris Duke Theater, this Monday, May 13th, at 5:30 PM.