Protesters 'de-occupy' Blaisdell sidewalk
OTS told city that tents, personal property created safety hazard
The city says its stored property ordinance authorized crews to oust De-Occupy Honolulu protesters in front of the Neal Blaisdell Concert Hall Wednesday afternoon.
The city's bus contractor, Oahu Transit Services, informed the city that the recent relocation of tents and personal property near the Blaisdell created a safety hazard and interfered with the orderly management of city property.
The location of the tents and other personal property also posed a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the general public, especially for tent occupants, bus passengers who are exiting the buses, and for pedestrians, according to the city.
The ordinance that allowed this was not the recent signing of Bill 7, that allows the city to immediately confiscate personal property on sidewalks. The city says that law will not able to be enforced until July 1 because it must go through a rulemaking process.
Protesters were at Thomas Square for nearly 18 months with tents lining the sidewalks on either the Beretania Street or King Street side of the park.
This week, they moved to the sidewalk fronting the Blaisdell because of city maintenance going on in the park.
On Wednesday, city crews were putting up flower beds at Thomas Square. The city says crews will be putting planters on the Blaisdell side of King Street as well.
Sugar Russell, a De-Occupy protester says the bill that allows immediate confiscation of personal property from city sidewalk will do little improve the homeless situation on Oahu.
Council Chair Ernie Martin denied the law was targeted at De-Occupy protesters saying the true test will come when the law is enforced across the board.
Click here to see more pictures from the scene.
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