Department of Public Safety: Sheriffs will now get involved in Coco Palms occupation

(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)
(Image: Hawaii News Now)

WAILUA, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - The deadline for activists to vacate the land where Kauai's iconic Coco Palms resort sits on has passed, but they're staying put.

Last week, a Kauai judge ordered a growing group of occupiers to vacate the Coco Palms property. Their deadline to move out: 6 p.m. Sunday.

That deadline came and went, but the activists stayed well into the week. On Tuesday, they were still there. They say no law enforcement officials showed up to clear the property.

On Wednesday, the Hawaii Department of Public Safety released a statement saying, "The Sheriff Division has received the official request for assistance from the property owner's representative. The Sheriffs will work with the property owner, KPD and the occupants towards a resolution to this matter. For safety and security reasons, we are not at this time, free to discuss any strategies that may be utilized in any related enforcement action."

On Sunday, the occupiers gained some support from others in the community and the crowd grew to more than 50 people. It was clear they were dedicated to claiming their land.

"What you saw here today was our ceremony to bring us all together and to show that we are all standing here under our own direction to be here for the aina," organizer Keala Lopez said.

As the 6 p.m. deadline approached, law enforcement officers were absent and the occupation continued.

"I feel like they're going to probably come between the hours of 12 and 4 in the morning and try to get us while we're not ready," activist Noa Mau Espirito said Sunday. "To me, this is kind of dangerous. It's getting into the night."

The activists have been in place since at least March of last year, claiming to be descendants of Kauai's last king. They also say they have the proper documents which gives them rights to the land that the iconic resort sits on.

Coco Palms has been closed for more than 25 years since it was damaged by Hurricane Iniki.

Developer Coco Palms Hui plans to open the new resort under the Hyatt's luxury collection in 2019.

This is an ongoing story. It will be updated.

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