Hawaiian rebels occupy royal palace

May 1st, 2008 - 11:58 pm ICT by admin  

San Francisco, May 1 (DPA) A group of native Hawaiians demanding sovereignty for the Pacific island occupied the Iolani Palace, home of Hawaiian monarchs and one of Honolulu’s most popular attractions, forcing it to close for several hours, the Honolulu Star Bulletin reported Thursday. About 70 members of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government locked themselves in the grounds with padlocks and chains demanding independence from the US.

The group is one of several in Hawaii that reject statehood and seek to return to the constitutional monarchy that effectively ended in 1893 when a group of politicians, businessmen and sugar planters backed by the US overthrew the kingdom’s government. Hawaii became the 50th state of the US in 1959.

The incident ended peacefully and without arrests after the protestors agreed to leave.

But the group’s “head of state” Mahealani Kahau said the group was now operating as a government, with executive, legislative and judicial branches.

The group’s guards put up yellow “No Trespassing” signs at the palace’s several gates to “give awareness and notice to everyone that passes that the Hawaiian Kingdom Government has resumed its lawful status as the seat of government,” Kahau said.

“This is our seat of government and always will be,” said Kahau, who was elected “head of state” of the group seven years ago.

“As long as we have breath to speak, we’ll be here,” he added.

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