Mauna Kea is officially closed according to state officials.
In a brief news conference Thursday afternoon, state officials confirmed that Mauna Kea will be closed to everyone including Native Hawaiian Practitioners.
Hundreds and hundreds of demonstrators are currently at the base of Mauna Kea waiting in anticipation.
Many believe that Friday will be the day where possibly the Army National Guard will arrive as well as additional law enforcement.
Friday morning, Bernie Sanders tweeted support for the kia’i at Mauna Kea, the Tweet has since been removed. Closer to home, Governor David Ige reinforced his intention to see the project through. He signed an emergency proclamation giving law enforcement enhanced authority to close areas of the mountain to allow materials to build the telescope to reach the summit.
The governor arrived on Hawaii Island Friday morning. He did not go the base of Mauna Kea where the standoff continues between opponents of the Thirty-Meter Telescope (TMT) and officials. Ige said he had no plans to either.
Lt. Gov. Josh Green also took to social media, providing his cell phone number, vowing to see people across the state and meet with those that are engaged in this situation.
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard released a statement Friday afternoon. In it, she urged Gov. Ige “to withdraw the emergency declaration, delay any new construction, and bring leaders together from both sides in the spirit of aloha to ho’oponopono and determine the best path forward.”
The Mauna Kea media communications spokesperson, Dan Dennison of the Department of Land and Natural Resources, held a press conference Friday afternoon. He estimated the day’s crowd to be as large as 1,200 and continued to stress that safety is the number one priority for everyone in the area.
As far as Gov. Ige’s plans, Dennison had no information on what his itinerary was while on Hawaii Island.
Our crew reports that the kiaʻi are well-organized with a fully staffed kitchen and regular supply drops. There are also porta-potties for the comfort of all. The workers who empty the toilets are sometimes serenaded while working, according to @karaokecomputer.
Stay with KHON2 on-air and online as we continue to update this story