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Hawaii leaders condemn anti-democratic action

The Maui News and The Associated Press

Hawaii’s Congressional leaders assured residents that they were safe as local officials expressed shock over protesters storming the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to stop lawmakers from certifying President-elect Joe Biden’s win.

“Mahalo for everyone’s concern. I want to let you all know that I’m safe,” Sen. Mazie Hirono tweeted. “I implore the president to tell his supporters to stand down for everyone’s safety and let Congress do our job today.”

Angered over what President Donald Trump called a “fraudulent election,” a mob of supporters broke windows and forced their way past barricades and law enforcement into the Capitol, where lawmakers huddled in the gallery and donned gas masks, according to The Associated Press. One woman was shot in the building and later died, according to law enforcement officials.

Hawaii U.S. Rep. Ed Case tweeted that “my staff and I are ok, but democracy is not,” while Sen. Brian Schatz called the intrusion “despicable.”

“The attack on the Capitol and our democracy is despicable, but it will not stop us from completing our constitutional duties and affirming the results of the presidential election,” Schatz said.

Newly elected U.S. Rep. Kai Kahele, whose district includes parts of Oahu and the Neighbor Islands, tweeted that “we’ve had an incredible few days in the nation’s capital.”

“Now this — extremists attacking and desecrating our revered Capitol,” Kahele said. “Tonight I feel her pain, but I am strengthened by her unwavering resolve. I swore an oath to uphold democracy and we will do that tonight.”

He later announced that Hawaii’s four electoral college votes had been certified and ratified by Congress just before midnight.

In Honolulu, Gov. David Ige said Wednesday that recent protests by Trump supporters at the state building this weekend have been peaceful so far.

“We have been proactive in planning for these kinds of activities,” he said. “I always do try and reach out to protest organizers, trying to explain that we do recognize their constitutional right but we also are committed to peaceful activity.”

In the event that security is breached at Hawaii State Capitol, Ige said that there are safety protocols in place and local sheriffs are prepared to take action.

He called the day’s events “shocking.”

“It is an assault on our democracy and everything that our country stands for,” Ige said. “The vote certification process and the peaceful transition of power must be completed as required by the United States Constitution. Anything less than that is totally unacceptable.”

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino gathered religious leaders at his news conference Wednesday in a call for peace and issued a joint statement with Maui County Council Chairwoman Alice Lee condemning the violent protests.

“The actions of these protesters are in direct opposition to Hawaii’s values that honor many people working together in the spirit of aloha,” the statement said. “American democracy is built upon a foundation of checks and balances. We believe that disagreement is a healthy and normal part of our political process. Every American has the right to agree or disagree with policy decisions, but nobody has the right to overturn the people’s choice in a fair and lawful election.”

Victorino and Lee called for “aloha in our hearts, peace on our streets and respect in our words.”

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