Occupy Honolulu protestor arrested, belongings confiscated
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Occupy Honolulu protest escalated today as city crews came in to confiscate their belongings left behind. One man was arrested and many others weren't happy.
The occupy protestors had most of their stuff taken, but not their will still leave. They still remain at Thomas Square at the corner of South Beretania Street and Ward Avenue trying to send a message that they aren't going anywhere.
At 1:00 the city crews came in and started confiscating items. However they did not take the protestors signs. But that became a point of contention because the protestors tied the signs to tents and spray painted the tents saying they too were part of the demonstration. However the city wasn't buying it and they cut off the signs and took the tents.
Then it turned into a bit of theater. Lucas Miller refused to leave his tent. Instead he ripped off the warning sticker and threw it on the ground. He was warned to get out of the tent but instead cut a hole in the bottom and ran away with the tent over him. He then planted himself right in front of the bulldozer blocking city workers from loading up the items. That's when the police stepped in and placed him under arrest.
"We were just trying to have a little fun, keep it light hearted and to come down so hard like that and arrest him while he's still in the tent I think shows why we're here. It's this police state," said Jamie Baldwin, Occupy Honolulu. "I don't think that was warranted. It was a prank. We're trying to keep things light hearted in the face of what's happening to us today."
"Unfortunately one person was arrested. If he simply complied there would have been no arrests," said Sgt. Lawrence Santos, Honolulu Police Department. "He was given several commands, instructions or orders to leave the park, relinquish his tent to which he failed to."
This was the third time Lucas Miller has been arrested at Thomas Square. He was also in custody for sleeping in the park after hours twice before. His offense today of obstructing governmental operations is a misdemeanor.
"We're treating people like things and violence is inevitable when you treat people like things," said Madori Rumpungworn, who was brought to tears by the day's events. "I don't care about stuff it's the principle brother that's what it is. We can't help each other. We're so disconnected with where we come from, the source of our lives."
"We understand a number of people want to assert their first amendment rights, we're very happy they want to do that, we're willing to let them do that, unfortunately there is property that is stored so we do have to do our job as well and that's why we're here," said Trish Morikawa, County Housing Coordinator. "We left the signs. We are leaving all the signs with them but the other property like tents, sleeping bags and pillows we are storing."
"It's a matter of free speech where people are expressing their discontent with the current governmental system and the economic system," said Laulani Teale, Occupy Honolulu.
"They tore apart some of our signs which is infringing on our first amendment rights and freedom of speech," said Chris Smith, Occupy Honolulu. "Oh we're staying here. This is just one of many stunts to prove Mayor Carlisle or (Councilmember) Tulsi Gabbard do not care about the citizens or the poor. It's all about corporate greed."
The protestors will have 30 days to pick up their belongings, which are being stored for free at a city base yard. After 30 days it will be thrown away.
The Occupy Honolulu protestors think the city did not accomplish anything today and vow to continue to camp on the sidewalk.
The city has remained vigilant and returned to areas it previously enforced and will continue to remove stored property on public spaces, including Thomas Square.
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