Quiet Day On The Mountain
Over a thousand opponents of the Thirty Meter Telescope were gathered at the Saddle Road / Mauna Kea Access Road intersection on Friday, prepared to block observatory construction crews from reaching the summit of the mountain. The construction convoy never came; nor were there any sweeps of the encampment by law enforcement officers. There were no arrests or injuries reported.
Governor David Ige’s emergency proclamation remains in place, which “provides law enforcement increased flexibility and authority to close more areas and restrict access on Mauna Kea to ensure public safety.”
It remains uncertain when the state will make its move to clear the path to the summit. But the state did issue this message on Friday:
There have been claims circulating that the state has approved the use of excessive force. This is inaccurate, and no state agency or leader can make such an approval. This, and rhetoric such as “the state is preparing for war,” is dangerous and false. Many questions have been asked about why more can’t be shared about law enforcement activities, and the reason is for safety and security purposes. In law enforcement, there is a focus on decreasing vulnerabilities while conveying essential information. Law enforcement has continually assured it has the resources necessary to bring about a peaceful resolution – which is the top priority.
Travelling Protectors Arriving
Among the sea of Hawaiʻi flags – many of them flying upside down to symbolize a nation in distress – new flags from other nations are appearing. Allies of those standing against the construction of the TMT are arriving at the Mauna Kea encampment. Groups representing other indigenous peoples were welcomed with an exchange of cultural protocols.
Krystal Two Bulls, an Oglala Lakota/Northern Cheyenne woman from Montana, is among the Mauna Kea kiaʻi. She answered the call, in the same way some Hawaiians did for the Standing Rock / Dakota Access Pipeline situation a few years ago.
“I think that it is very important for us to all be here in this space,” Two Bulls said, “because it can actually shift the way Hawaiian Native Hawaiian folks are experiencing oppression on their own lands.”
Governor Ige In Hilo
State officials spent most of the day saying they were unable to confirm Governor David Ige was in Hilo, but at 3 p.m. a press conference with Ige was held at the Hilo International Airport.
At the press conference, Ige said he would not be calling in additional National Guard troops at this time, refuted rumors that tear gas might be used, and said he did not plan to visit the Mauna Kea encampment like he did in 2015.
The governor said that many of the leaders of this protest do not want to meet, and that “they would rather post to social media, spread rumors and fear, rather than engage in real world conversations about how we move forward together.”
The emergency proclamation remains in effect, Ige said, apparently using “reports of drugs and alcohol use” at the Puʻuhonua o Puʻu Huluhulu as the basis for the proclamation due to “this unsafe situation”, he said.
TMT Opponents Respond
Following Governor Ige’s news conference, Kahoʻokahi Kanuha, members of the Royal Order of Kamehameha, and other kupuna held a news conference of their own. They said the governor was making false statements, that the situation at the puʻuhonua is safe and that alcohol and drug use is strictly prohibited. They said they are working hard to manage waste and recycle.
“The governor has shown us that he is desperate,: Kanuha said. “He has no truth to stand on. His foundation has fallen apart, rock by rock. At this point, it seems that he has no other choice but to try to manipulate the minds of the community… We are here showing our unity. We are here showing our commitment to each other and to Mauna Kea.”
Saddle Road Parking Advisory
Hawaiʻi County Police are asking for the public’s cooperation to “mitigate traffic collisions and congestion along Daniel K. Inouye Highway.”
This advisory was issued by police on Friday:
Due to the congestion on the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (DKI Highway/Saddle Road), near Mauna Kea access road, Hawaiʻi Island Police is cautioning the public regarding unauthorized parking violations. Hawaiʻi County Code 24-202 addresses parking on Federal-aid highways and prohibits vehicle parking for longer than sixty-minutes between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. Where parking is permitted, all parking shall be parallel to the pavement with all wheels entirely off the traveled way. Violations are subject to being cited and potentially towed.