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Protectors Slow TMT: More arrests as protectors block Thirty Meter Telescope construction on Mauna K

Protectors on Summit Road

KHON - See Original Post HERE

More arrests are being made on Mauna Kea Wednesday as hundreds of protesters block crews from resuming construction on the Thirty Meter Telescope.

Protests are staged at the 9,200-foot elevation in an attempt to stop the construction convoy from advancing.

They’re spaced roughly 100 yards apart so as authorities disperse one group, another is ready to stop the vehicles.

Officers from both Hawaii County police and the state Department of Land and Natural Resources are on scene to ensure safety.

Lino Kamakau, branch chief officer with DLNR Hawaii County, told the protesters that they need to clear the road, or people will be arrested.

DLNR is giving them 15 minutes to move or arrests will be made. At least three people have been arrested so far.

Dozens of people slept on Mauna Kea Tuesday night. Many are calling themselves the protectors of the mountain.

By sunset on Tuesday, about 50 people gathered at Mauna Kea’s Hale Pohaku or the visitor center area in the last two days. Many had built ahus, or altars, at the site of the project.

“We are not standing against anyone or anything, we stand for the mauna,” said Pua Case.

Case reported a steady stream of people arriving, of all ages, Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians.

“To the best of our ability, with our highest intention we unify together to peacefully, but strongly and directly stand for not just for the mauna but for the mountain and all mountains,” said Case.

“We hope to accomplish the stopping of the intention of TMT to continue the desecration there. We want to block all machinery and people intent on any type of desecration or breaking of ground on the Mauna,” said Kamahana Kealoha, head facilitator for Sacred Mauna Kea Hui.

“We stand tomorrow and the next tomorrow and the day after that,” added Case.

Henry Yang, chair of the TMT International Observatory Board, says there are no plans to stop them. “Allowing this practice to continue to occur will require further dialogue and mutual agreement to work out the details in order to establish a cooperative and harmonious environment for all parties,” said Yang.

There were rumors that the Hawaii National Guard would be standing by as construction resumes. However, the Guard was quick to say that’s not true. Officials tell us there have been no requests for any assistance and no request to be on standby.

Meanwhile, operations at Mauna Kea’s observatories were scaled back Wednesday.

Rich Matsuda, operations and infrastructure senior manager, W. M. Keck Observatory, released the following statement:

Maunakea Observatories’ staff members continue to have cordial and respectful interactions with the protectors as they travel up and down the mountain for their daily work on the telescopes. Out of respect for the situation’s complex nature, and to ensure the positive dialogue will continue, the Observatories will scale back operations on June 24, 2015. Safety for everyone on the mountain is our primary concern, and we will modify our schedules accordingly.

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