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TMT opponents demand action from OHA


Opponents of the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea voiced their demands that were brought down from the mountain and are now spreading like wildfire.


"The only reason why it's gone viral around the planet is because Hawaiians stood up and had the courage to get arrested," said Andre Perez with MANA Movement for Aloha no ka 'Aina.

"This is the most unifying thing I've ever witnessed," said 'Ilima Long, also with MANA Movement.

The focus now is forcing OHA to rescind its 2009 resolution supporting construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope and take an official position against the TMT.

"They have a responsibility is what it comes down to," said Long.

There was lots of criticism too of Governor David Ige's semi-secret visit to Mauna Kea on Wednesday.

Mana Movement's Andre Perez called the move "shibai" and said the governor's construction "timeout" would have happened anyway because building crews didn't have all their equipment.

They also said the only reason Ige engaged with protestors was because his car broke down.

"They ended up having to talk to the people up there for quite some time," said Long.

Thursday's demands were paired with warnings of what's to come:

-A petition to the governor to stop the construction has surpassed 30,000.

-Mana Movement said UH teachers and students are preparing public statements that will be released next week, targeting TMT investors.

-They said everyone is bracing for more arrests on Monday.

Back at OHA's board room, the voices of protestors on Mauna Kea carried through a cellphone speaker:

"We're here. We're not going to back down. If we lose our jobs, we lose our jobs. I'd much rather lose my job than lose our 'Aina," said Kaho'okahi Kanuha.

By two thirds through the meeting, Trustee Lei Ahu Isa offered to head up to the mountain on Sunday and Trustee Collette Machado provided a stack of 100s to help out.

TMT opponents called it "small steps" in a movement that's only getting bigger.

"There's an urgency for everyone to step in and do their part," said Long.

"Have the courage to stand with us? Will you stand with us?" Perez asked board members.

After several seconds he added: "Or do we stand alone on that mauna?"

Opponents told KITV they're now handing out literature to tourists, in Japanese, to pressure foreign investors to pull out.

OHA board members told the crowd they'll will spend the next few weeks reviewing why they supported the TMT.

They said they'd present their findings at their next board meeting in May.

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