Homeless Leave Peacefully During Sweep at Maili Beach - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Homeless Leave Peacefully During Sweep at Maili Beach

By Minna Sugimoto

MAILI BEACH PARK (KHNL) - A Leeward Oahu park that many people call home looks very different now. Early Tuesday morning, Honolulu police and city crews moved in to clear Maili Beach Park of homeless campers.

The homeless population knew the sweep would happen. But those who are Native Hawaiian say they have a right to live on their land.

"You know I believe in this, eh," Marlene Anduha, homeless woman, told police.

As promised, Anduha stays put as police and clean-up crews swarm Maili Beach Park to clear out the homeless.

"If I gotta be arrested, then that's what's going to happen," she said. "That's what it's going to take 'cause I gotta stand firm."

But everything around her is crumbling. One by one, tents -- and the hopes of staying on the land -- are crushed.

"Where's the low-income housing at?" a man yells as crews work nearby.

Many homeless families did leave before the Tuesday deadline. But piles of trash remain.

"The majority of the community out here wants to see the parks get rejuvenated," Maj. Michael Moses, Honolulu Police Department, said.

A car seat that may have doubled as a bed or sofa is demolished.

"Hold your head up high," a woman yells to the homeless.

The homeless and their supporters join hands, realizing the end is near.

"A lot of the service providers have been out here for the last month plus to encourage these folks to, you know, there are alternatives," Moses said.

In the end, the campers agree to leave peacefully.

"We've been heard. Our voice has been heard," Anduha said. "I'll be right here again to stand for my people."

Police made no arrests during the sweep.

The city wants to do maintenance work at the park, and will close it to the public each night from 10 until five in the morning.

 

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