The Office of Hawaiian Affairs was locked down for a couple of hours after a self-proclaimed sovereignty group occupied the facility.
This comes on the 126th anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
The group is known as the Kingdom of Atooi. We’re told that this is not the first time they tried to do this at OHA.
Shortly before noon Thursday, workers say 12 men stormed the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and said they are occupying the facility.
Workers say some members of the group had jackets that said “Federal Marshal” on the back. They took over the reception area and scuffled with workers who were trying to go inside.
“They used some physical force to keep people away, they tackled some OHA employees who were trying to go through. Myself, I came into confrontation with a handful of them, for trying to get through,” said OHA worker Zuri Aki.
OHA says two workers were assaulted and others were harassed. Dozens of Honolulu police officers were called to the scene as workers, not just from OHA but the entire building were forced to evacuate.
“What they told me, I asked them, they said we’re doing this for the people, we’re taking over the Office of Hawaiian Affairs as the lawful government for the people, for the Hawaiian people,” said witness Andre Perez.
“From what they told me it’s just basically to occupy, utilize OHA’s resources as their own maybe. I don’t know what they want to do with it, but that’s pretty much what they want to do,” said Aki.
Workers say the group tried to do the same thing a couple of weeks ago but didn’t go quite as far. Native Hawaiians at the scene quickly condemned the Kingdom of Atooi.
“I question their integrity. I question their logic, and I question their complete lack of leadership and the negative precedent that this sets for the Hawaiian community,” said Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu.
Just before two o’clock, five men were arrested while the rest of the group left on their own, and the lockdown was lifted.
Four of them were arrested for third degree assault one for harassment. Bail was set at $100 each.