Gov. About 20 people opposed to building what would be one of the world’s largest telescopes on a Hawaii mountain are camped out near the construction site, Tuesday, June 23, 2015, vowing to stop work from resuming.
The billion-dollar project has drawn intense opposition from Native Hawaiians who believe that the 18-story observatory on the Big Island’s Mauna Kea would damage the land they consider as sacred.
The protesters will be respectful, said Kahookahi Kanuha, who was among those arrested. Scientists say that such a powerful telescope ideally located on Mauna Kea’s summit will allow astronomers to see “forming galaxies at the very edge of the observable Universe, near the beginning of time,” according to the TMT website.
A man protesting construction of a giant telescope on a Hawaii mountain says demonstrators erupted in cheers when crews advancing up Mauna Kea turned around and headed back down.
Law enforcement officers arrest a protester on Mauna Kea on Wednesday.
Some of them spent Monday building an ahu, or a rock altar, in the road leading to the construction site, but he expects workers to move or destroy it.
A Thirty Meter Telescope spokeswoman said Wednesday morning the crew is on its way.
The build of 30 metre telescope was delayed after protesters blocked a main road to the construction site, leaving the officers and TMT to turn around, without further arrests made and requests for people to leave. Thirty Meter Telescope intends to build on a northern plateau to minimize effects on native bug habitat, cultural practices, view planes and historic sites.
She says she’s glad construction didn’t take place Wednesday on Mauna Kea, but protesters will continue camping on the mountain to prevent workers from returning.
The nonprofit Thirty Meter Telescope global Observatory LLC will build and operate the telescope. Hawaii’s isolated location in the middle of the Pacific Ocean also means the area is relatively free of air pollution. McCartney said crews will work to clear the roadway on Thursday, and meanwhile the construction was put on hold.
Institutions in Canada, China, India and Japan and signed on as partners and would receive a share of observing time. He apologized to the crowd, clearly familiar with him, saying, “You may not accept it, but I got to do my job”.