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Occupy Honolulu Protesters Evicted

By Jodi Leong
Published On: Feb 02 2012 05:10:29 AM HST
Updated On: Feb 02 2012 07:40:18 AM HST
HONOLULU -

City crews descended on the Occupy Honolulu campsite at the corner of Ward Avenue and Beretania Street just after 1 p.m. Thursday.

Armed with the new sidewalk property law, a backhoe, storage disposal notices and plastic storage bins, city crews went in to dismantle the sidewalk campsite.

They matched the property that remained with snapshots of items that were tagged with warning notices more than 24 hours before.

"This is about property, not about people. We understand that a number of people here do want to assert their First Amendment rights. We're very happy that they want to do that, and we're willing to let them do that," said Trish Morikawa, county coordinator for the Office of Housing.

City crews did not touch protest signs and other objects that contained protestors' views so as not to violate First Amendment Rights.

"I think we have different ideas of what First Amendment property is. I think that everything here is part of our First Amendment right to freely assemble, first of all. And a lot of our tents have signs on them. They're an active representation with messaging on them about why we're here," said Jamie Baldwin, an Occupy Honolulu protestor.

City crews dismantled the tents, removed their contents and stored the property in plastic storage bins.

At one point, a protester dove into a tent that was about to be dismantled and dashed off with it before settling directly in front of a backhoe.

Police arrested the man, whom protestors identified as Lucas Miller.

Some nearby workers and residents stood by and expressed relief that the camp that has been in place since Nov. 5 was finally being removed.

"Kind of dirty for me -- make Hawaii feel shame. And every day I come through here with my granddaughter, and my granddaughter ask me, 'Papa -- it looks kind of messy. I don't think we should be here,'" said Pete, a nearby resident.

City crews also cleared parts of Aala Park and the Iwilei area on Thursday, filling 28 storage bins at the combined sites.

The unclaimed property will be taken to the Facility and Maintenance Baseyard in Halawa -- where the property will be held for 30 days.

Property owners can claim their belongings at no charge by calling the number on their Storage and Disposal notices.

The city earlier cleared homeless camps in the Old Stadium Park area, Moiliili Field and the Pawaa Park area in January, because those areas received the most complaints.

The Occupy Honolulu protesters received about 30 complaints.

Protesters said they'll stick around the area awhile longer and are discussing other locations to occupy next.

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