Iolani Palace grounds re-open, security tight

Kippen de Alba Chu
Kippen de Alba Chu
Mahealani Kahau
Mahealani Kahau

By Mari-Ela David - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL) - Iolani Palace leaders say take-overs at one of Hawaii's most sacred places have hit a boiling point. The grounds re-opened on Monday, but the palace itself remains closed after Friday's break-in.

"They forcibly entered. The other is the assault of one of our employees so that really places this group in a different category because they've crossed a number of lines," said Kippen de Alba Chu, Executive Director of Iolani Palace.

State leaders plan to tighten security, and place restrictions on groups that want to protest there.

It's round the clock security at Iolani Palace, after a sovereignty group breaks-in on Statehood Day. Akahi Nui is one of nine people charged with burglary in the takeover. He is the leader of the group, Kingdom of Hawaii, and claims he is the King.

Mahealani Kahau is with Hawaiian Kingdom Government, another anti-government group that seized the palace grounds in April.

"We all have the same goal, we all want to get to the same place, it's how we get there that sometimes we don't agree upon. We don't support the desecration of the Iolani Palace. That's a pretty sacred place to all of us as kanaka," said Kahau.

The break-in adds fuel to proposed new rules for Iolani Palace. After the april take-over, state leaders began talking about the idea of placing new restrictions for groups that want to exercise freedom of expression on the grounds.

"Iolani Palace is not an amusement park ride. You don't come here and sit on things. It is a sacred historic site, everything is original in the palace, a majority of the artifacts are original and can never be replaced if they are damaged and we'll lose them forever," said de Alba Chu.

de Alba Chu says they don't intend to stifle the voice of the people, but want to draw a fair line to protect the only royal palace in the country.

On Kauai Monday evening, the Department of Land and Natural Resources held its final hearing on the proposed restrictions.

They include limiting the length of the permit needed to protest at Iolani Palace, and banning people from showering or camping there.