Part 3 in a 3 part series covering the events of June 24th on Mauna Kea. Video by David Corrigan, voice of Sherry Bracken.
MAUNA KEA, Hawaii – As law enforcement made slow progress clearing the gravel access road on Mauna Kea, things began to get heated. Tensions became elevated as DLNR officers began to push their way through the blockade lines, which were set up at intervals going up the mountain. This is where most of the arrests occurred. Many of those taken into custoday were the alaka’i of each line, like Andre Perez who came over from Oahu to participate. Also arrested, Maui professor Samuel Kaleikoa Ka’eo. Big Island Video News spoke to both men outside the Hilo police station where they were processed.
According to the governor’s office, state officers arrested 11 adults on Wednesday.
Just as things were reaching a boiling point, a decision was made to turn around. TMT crews went back down. There were also reports of boulders in the road, which did not make passage for vehicles any easier.
The governor’s chief of staff Mike McCartney issued this statement:
“We are disappointed and concerned that large boulders were found in the roadway leading to the summit of Mauna Kea. This action is a serious and significant safety hazard and could put people at risk. Because of this, we are making an assessment to determine how to proceed. We will be working to clear the roadway tomorrow. Therefore, construction is on hold until further notice.” – Governor’s Chief of Staff Mike McCartney on June 24, 2015
The Thirty Meter Telescope also issued a statement:
“This is a difficult day for Hawaii and TMT. As we attempted to begin our work today, we were met by protests that regrettably resulted in some arrests. Boulders blocked our access to the construction site and the Department of Land and Natural Resources deemed it unsafe for us to proceed. For the safety of our team, we made the decision to bring them off the mountain and we are planning to resume when the issue is resolved.
“We want to thank the state and county police officers for protecting the safety of our team and the protesters and extend our gratitude to them, as well as to all of our supporters in Hawaii.
“We want to acknowledge and reach out to those who disagree with our project. We respect their views and, looking toward the future, we hope we can work together to find common ground.” – Henry Yang, Chair of the TMT International Observatory Board on June 24, 2015