So the assumption is that this mountain belongs to foreign scientists.?The nonprofit Thirty Meter Telescope worldwide Observatory LLC will build and operate the telescope.
HONOLULU (AP) – Hundreds of protesters on a Hawaii mountain road erupted in cheers Wednesday after construction crews turned around and retreated from the site for what would be one of the world’s largest telescopes. Opponents say the $1.4 billion project that will be 18 stories high will desecrate land that Native Hawaiians believe to be the home of deities.
No work has been done at the site since construction was put on hold in April, following the arrest of 31 protesters. Some say it’s time to curb development on the mountain, where 13 other telescopes sit. “Mauna Kea is the place of our origin”, said Kealoha Pisciotta, president of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou, one group that is protesting the telescope.
Protests and demonstrations have plagued construction crews since ground broke on the telescope in October 2014, including Wednesday when several protesters were arrested after they forced workers to turn away.
Some of them spent Monday building an ahu, or a rock altar, on a higher stretch of the road leading to the construction site, but he expects workers to move or destroy it.?Its a symbol to show that the culture is still here, and its a cultural site, ? Kanuha said. The governor’s office said the road would need to be cleared Thursday and construction would have to be put on hold.
Officers from Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), and construction workers for the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT), turned back from the summit shortly after noon Wednesday, citing concerns for public safety after finding the road blocked by boulders.
Meanwhile, protesters arrested while preventing construction from resuming on a giant telescope have returned to the Hawaii mountain they say they’re protecting from desecration. Hawaii Governor David Ige issued a statement Wednesday and said he was “disappointed” with the actions taken by the protesters. A 44-year-old man was arrested and charged with obstructing, a misdemeanor, and released after posting $250 bail, police said.
University of Hawaii officials say it is not illegal for pedestrians to walk on the access road, despite the indefinite closure that was announced on Thursday.
“For today at least, we did really good at keeping our lines strong until arrest”, said protester Kuuipo Freitas. There’s also very little air and light pollution. ?When the public looks at Mauna Kea, what you see are telescopes.
“The state continues to assess and monitor the situation to ensure the safety of the people on Mauna Kea”, Ige’s office said in a news release.
Protesters Wednesday ranged from toddlers to the elderly. “They were grabbing people”, he says.
The Thirty Meter Telescope, or TMT, was created to be one of the largest telescopes in existence – at a price tag of $1.5 billion Dollars.
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