Update: Quiet day on mountain wrapping up

  • TMT protesters on the Mauneakea Access Road this morning. (Hollyn Johnson / Hawaii Tribune-Herald)

MAUNAKEA — An estimated 600 opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope were back on the mountain Thursday, but there were no injuries or arrests reported, according to a release from the State of Hawaii.

There were a total of 34 individuals arrested, cited and released Wednesday for obstructing government operations, a misdemeanor. Initially, 33 arrests were reported. The names of the arrested individuals will be released when the officers involved are able to file their reports, which may be after the deployment is completed, according to the release.

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The Daniel K. Inouye Highway is open, however, some new restrictions are in place. Foot traffic beyond the cattle guard on Mauna Kea Access Road, about an 1/8 mile from the intersection, is now restricted, a decision related to the governorʻs emergency proclamation issued Wednesday.

The release urged the public to be aware of unverified misinformation being spread on social media and for drivers using the Daniel K. Inouye Highway to use caution and expect delays.

UPDATED 10:53 a.m.

A group of kupuna held a press conference at the protest site. They condemned Gov. David Ige for his handling of the protest and his emergency declaration on Wednesday.

“Our illustrious governor has decided to abuse his power,” said Walter Ritte. “Bringing the National Guard here is an insult to us as Hawaiians.”

Ritte said Ige “might be impeached before (President Trump) is impeached,” adding that if the protesters are swept away here, Hawaiians everywhere must rise up.

Billy Freitas, speaking directly about Ige, said: “If your actions here hurt our keiki (children), or keiki anywhere, it would not look good on you, and it doesn’t look good on you now.”

Noe Noe Wong-Wilson said protesters were “boiling with rage and hurt” watching Wednesday’s arrests, but “there was not a single harsh word said.”

Her message to the governor: “Perhaps it’s time for you to come down here yourself.”

PREVIOUSLY

Hundreds of Thirty Meter Telescope opponents have set up on and near the Mauna Kea Access Road this morning for the fourth consecutive day of their protest against the $1.4 billion project.

So far this morning the scene is calm.

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Protesters are relaxing, chatting and milling about their makeshift checkpoint just north of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

About a dozen police vehicles are stationed a couple hundred feet past the checkpoint by the cattle guard that was the site of a standoff two days ago.

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