Part 1 in a 3 part series covering the events of June 24th on Mauna Kea. Video by David Corrigan, voice of Sherry Bracken.
MAUNA KEA – Another day of arrests, emotion, and drama on Mauna Kea… and another day of Thirty Meter Telescope crews going home without doing any work.
Wednesday was exactly what many thought it would be. Hundreds showed up to block TMT on the day the observatory project announced construction would resume, following months of delay. A scene similar to the April 2 arrests was expected. County and State law enforcement tried to push their way through – peacefully at first – however things got a little chaotic before the whole thing was called off.
Once again, Kahookahi Kanuha, one of the leaders in the Ku Kia’i Mauna movement, was arrested and taken away by police. We caught up with him in Hilo after he had just posted bail. Eleven adults were arrested by the state law enforcement on Wednesday. One was arrested by county police.
The day started early. Under the lights of the Mauna Kea Visitor Center parking lot, Kanuha told the assembled protectors what to expect and explained the strategy. The plan: stall the TMT crews and Hawaii County Police in their jurisdiction at Hale Pohaku while suffering as few arrests as possible. Then, starting at the gravel road, block TMT and their DLNR escorts on state land by forming lines of resistance. Each line would be led by an alaka’i who would direct the temporary obstruction.
At sunrise the protectors got into position. Hawaii County Police Captain Richard Sherlock reached out to the protectors before the action, as he did on April 2nd.