Gov. David Ige announced at a press conference today that he signed an emergency proclamation, which gives state law enforcement the authority to close off and restrict access to most areas of Maunakea where Native Hawaiians, who call themselves protectors, are currently protesting the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.
“Since Monday, protesters have illegally occupied roads and highways,” Ige said. “We are committed to keep a safe situation. Law enforcement has been patient and respectful toward protesters.”
The construction of TMT was originally planned for July 15, but hundreds of Native Hawaiian activists blocked Mauna Kea Access Road, preventing workers from transporting heavy machinery and vehicles up the summit.
The arrests of Native Hawaiian activists began on the morning of July 17, starting with the kūpuna line, the line of elders. Law enforcement officers said 34 were arrested today.
The citations were issued in accordance with the Hawai'i Revised Statutes for Obstructing Government Operations, a misdemeanor offense.
Demonstrations were also held across O'ahu, with some Native Hawaiian activists outside Ige’s office as soon as today's press conference in the governor's office was over.
Wong-Kalu had just returned after a couple days of being on Maunakea.
“I cannot tell you how insulting it is for people in political and economic power, and people who have other authority in our community, who continue to have such disdain for us in our own home,” Wong-Kalu said. “How absolutely rude and insulting. Those days should be over.”
Though there is no timeline or official date for the constrution of TMT to finish, many Native Hawaiian activists said they will continue to “protect Maunakea.”