Eight Activists Arrested At Mauna Kea Protest Of Telescope

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PHOTO BY DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES

State conservation officers arrested eight protesters  on Mauna Kea early Wednesday morning for violating the state’s new emergency rules that prohibit camping on the mountain, a Department of Land and Natural Resources spokesman said.

DNLR officers arrested seven women and a man at a protest camp across the road from the Mauna Kea Visitors Center for being in the restricted area on the mountain.

The protesters have been camping on the mountain in protest of the construction of the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.

In the four-minute video of the arrests shot by  the DLNR, some protesters formed a small circle and were chanting as officers approached them.

One of the protesters can be heard on the video saying this was her first time at the protest camp and asking the arresting officers if there should have been a warning before the arrests were made.

It was the second arrest for one of the protesters, 23-year-old Bronson Kobayashi, of Hilo.

His bail was set at $1,000.

The others arrested – Sandy Kamaka, 46, of Kailua-Kona; Hawane Rios, 36, of Kamuela; Jennifer Leina’ala Sleightholm, 41, of Waikoloa; Shanell Subica, 43, of Kailua-Kona; Kuuipo Freitas, 26, of Kona; Patricia Ikeda, 65, of Captain Cook; and Ruth Aloua, 26, of Kailua-Kona — had their bail set at $250.

The Hawaii County Police Department took the eight people arrested to the jail in HIlo for processing.

The emergency rules went into effect on July 14 and prohibit camping on the mountain and restrict access to the Summit Access Road between the hours of 10 p.m. and 4 a.m.

This is the second law enforcement action on Mauna Kea, since the enactment of the 120-day-long emergency rule.

On July 31, state and county law enforcement officers arrested seven people and cited six others at the protest site on Mauna Kea.

On the same day, Maui police arrested 20 people who tried to block a convoy bringing equipment to the summit of Haleakala for the under-construction Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.

On June 24, officers arrested 11 protesters who refused to leave the road leading to Mauna Kea’s summit. The protesters blocked the road as construction workers in Goodfellow Brothers vehicles drove up.

In April, authorities arrested 31 people when protesters previously blocked workers from reaching the construction site near the summit of Mauna Kea for the planned Thirty Meter Telescope. The charges of trespassing were later dismissed for 10 defendants.