Native Hawaiians Arrested During Protests Over Massive Telescope: The $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope set to be built atop Hawaii’s tallest peak has been the subject of controversy for a decade.
By Chris D’Angelo, Huffington Post, 7-17-19
Law enforcement officials on Wednesday arrested 33 protesters, many of them Native Hawaiian, who blocked a road to the summit of Mauna Kea in protest of the construction of a massive telescope.
The sweep started early morning and continued on until the afternoon until police agreed to temporarily vacate the area if protesters agreed to move cars that were blocking the road to the construction site.
The confrontation marked the third day of a standoff on Hawaii’s Big Island between authorities and opponents of the 18-story, $1.4 billion-dollar Thirty Meter Telescope. Hundreds of protesters gathered earlier this week below the mountain’s summit, with some holding a banner that read “Road closed due to desecration,” while others chained themselves to a cattle grate for hours to keep construction crews from reaching the project site.
In solidarity with the Mauna Kea protests, some Native Hawaiian activists demonstrated on the island of Oahu, causing traffic jams in Honolulu.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) declared an emergency proclamation later Wednesday, saying that the protesters were creating unsafe conditions. The proclamation gives law enforcement the authority to close access to roads leading to the summit of Mauna Kea so that construction on the telescope can proceed.
Those arrested in Mauna Kea on Wednesday received citations for obstructing a government operation and were released by police, a spokesman for Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources told HuffPost.
Anita Hofschneider of Honolulu Civil Beat, an online news site, reported that authorities did not handcuff the arrested protesters, many of whom were elders, known as kupuna, and allowed each one time to address supporters before being escorted off the mountain in vans...
The arrests are the latest in a decade-long legal fight over the controversial project.
TMT’s official partners include the California Institute of Technology, the Department of Science and Technology of India, the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, National Research Council Canada and the University of California.