(BIVN) – The number of people gathered at the base of Mauna Kea Access Road on Sunday increased to over two thousand – according to various sources – on Day 7 of the scheduled start of construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope project.
“Law enforcement planning and preparations continue with a complete focus on safety and security of everyone involved,” the state’s Joint Information Center repeated. “There were no arrests or injuries reported today.”
Online, the Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu Maunakea Facebook page shared thank you messages, information on needed supplies, and also notifications on other events – such as the kahea that went out to all hospitality industry employees statewide “to stand in a peaceful boycott On Monday, July 22.” Some tour companies – like Skyline Eco-Adventures, for example – are already closing tours in advance of the day.
The Governor’s emergency proclamation remains in place, and the mountain remains closed “for safety reasons”, the state says. A court hearing is set for Monday, July 22, on a lawsuit filed by the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation on behalf of Paul Neves. The suit is seeking temporary suspension and stay of the enforcement, operation, and execution of the Governor’s proclamation.
The state also says personnel now have improved access to and from Hale Pohaku.
“To help restore some order to the situation,” the Joint Information Center reported, “the State Dept. of Transportation moved the portable electronic messaging signs closer to the intersection of Saddle and Maunakea Access Roads. These signs caution drivers to slow down before they reach the intersection due to the heavy and increasing volume of pedestrian traffic at that location.”
A fog rolled over the encampment on Sunday afternoon. Weather was a concern for officials keeping an eye on the situation. “While it is not a high probability, there is a chance of lightning with thunderstorms this afternoon,” the Joint Information Center stated. “If this happens, we ask people to take shelter immediately. At this scene, your safest place is in an automobile with your windows up. It is NOT safe to shelter in a tent or under a canopy.”