Mauna Kea Telescope Protest
Image above: March 30, 2015, protesters form a road block outside the Mauna Kea visitors center in Hilo, Hawaii. Protesters are preventing construction of a giant telescope near the summit of a mountain held sacred by Native Hawaiians. From (http://www.observer-reporter.com/article/20150331/NEWS05/150339905).
Today marked the sixth day and sixth night since a group of Kanaka Maoli warriors representing several islands in the Hawaiian Islands and a multi-ethnic group of supporters formed a blockade at 9,000 feet above sea level at Mauna Kea also known as Mauna A Wakea on Hawaiʻi Island.
They are protesting the construction of a 30-meter telescope (TMT), which they say is a desecration of the most sacred place in the Hawaiian Islands. The peaceful protest has been ongoing for several years but in the past several months has gathered more momentum and support from Hawaiians and other non-Hawaiians around the world.
Today also marked the first day that TMT workers showed up since the protest began six days
and six nights ago.
“I have confirmed that the multi-ethnic group of protestors succeeded in stopping workers from passing through despite the large police presence all day,” says;
“The police arrived at around 8 a.m. today intent on infiltrating the line and breaking the protestors apart.”
The protestors are being led by Lanakila Mangauil, a prominent cultural practitioner from Hawaii Island. Mangauil, who had an enormous amount of help from hundreds of people who facilitated the success of the first protest, was able to stop the TMT ground breaking on October 7, 2014.
Today’s protesters have been inspired by the success of the October events and are continuing to hold steadfast to their plan not to allow any TMT workers into the area. They have vowed to block them all. The protesters are holding checkpoints, such as a roadblocks on the Mauna Kea access road to do this and, in particular, at the 9,000-foot level at the Visitors Center.
“There have been no arrests, no violence and no one hurt,” notes Kealoha. “We are always respectful of this sacred area despite challenges from non-protestors at times, including the police and TMT workers.”
The organizers have also harnessed the power of social media to attract an international audience to their cause. “We keep hearing, almost hourly, about simultaneous protests being organized in other parts of the Hawaiian Islands and, indeed, on the continental U.S. and other countries,” says Kealoha.
“This is an international show of support for our Mauna—our Mother— which resonates with all people concerned with the future of our planet.”
Some of the other activities that are being planned in coming days include:
The University of Hawaii/Manoa and “Mana” hui, working with the U.H./Hilo student body and others, will host an event that protest organizers Kealoha and Kaiulani Mahuka and other friends of the Mauna will attend. Kealoha and Mahuka will offer remarks. The event begins tonight—Tuesday, March 31, and will continue until Wednesday, April 1st, 2015.
Wednesday, April 1 on ahu: Organizers Kealoha and Mahuka will stage a protest at the “Capitol” beginning at 6:30 a.m. Saturday, April 4 on O’ahu: Kahu Brad Lum and Kailana Kahawaluokalani Kepelino Moa-Eli will protest again at the “Capitol.”
Alapaki Heanu and Noelani Maka of Maui will organize an event at U.H./Maui. Date and
time TBD. Protests on other islands are currently being planned and details will be available soon.
“This telescope is an atrocity the size of Aloha Stadium,” says Kealoha. “It’s 19 stories tall, which is like building a sky-scraper on top of the mountain, a place that is being violated in many ways culturally, environmentally and spiritually.”
“However, this struggle is about so much more,” notes Kealoha. “We are fighting against our erasure and ethnocide as well as the threat for all to our main water aquifer and endangered species conservation district.”
“We humbly ask the world and all those who hold the Mauna sacred to aid us in this struggle,
which is for all of us and our future generations,” says Kealoha.“
Please get to the Mauna and support the brave warriors who are protesting indefinitely at the 9000 foot level.”