DLNR/DOCARE confiscate Mauna Kea protest tent

Local News

*** Video above provided by Hawaii DLNR ***

The state removed the large tent sent up by protesters of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.

A hale set up next to the tent was not removed.

This is the third law enforcement operation under the 120-day emergency rule signed by Governor Ige in June. The rule is intended to establish safe conditions on the mountain for protesters, observatory workers and visitors.

The emergency rule prohibits camping in the restricted area between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.

19 officers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE), with support from four Hawaii Police Department officers and a ranger with the Office of Mauna Kea Management removed the structure.

Officers from DOCARE posted notices on the tent that it was considered an illegal structure on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

On Thursday, DLNR said an agreement was reached between the protesters and the state to remove the tent that was erected across from the Mauna Kea Visitor Center. The state said that a protest leader agreed to remove the tent and to “lighten their presence” on the mountain.

Lanakila Mangauil, one of the protest leaders, told the Associated Press that taking down the tent doesn’t mean they’re giving up. “At this point, it’s a matter of conserving resources,” he said of the food, equipment and time needed to camp on the mountain, especially as temperatures are starting to drop.

Mangauil said that protesters will continue to have a presence on the mountain during the day.

DOCARE officers disassembled the large tent and placed it into storage as evidence.

Unlike the two previous law enforcement operations, no one was arrested. Officers said they did not spot anyone camping in the restricted area. On July 31, 2015, six people received citations and seven people were arrested. Then on Sept. 9, eight people were arrested for being in the restricted area.

Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope has been stalled since April, and it has not been determined when construction will resume.

Prohibited activities. (a) The area referred to in this rule as the “restricted area” is defined as any lands in the public hunting area that includes the Mauna Kea Observatory Access Road and one mile on either side of the Mauna Kea Observatory Access road. (b) As used in this rule, the term “transiting” means operating, or being a passenger in, a motor vehicle travelling at a reasonable and prudent speed and having regard to the actual and potential hazards and conditions then existing. (c) No person shall at any time possess or control in the restricted area any of the following items: sleeping bag, tent, camping stove, or propane burner. (d) No person shall enter or remain in the restricted area during the hours of 10:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m., unless the person is transiting through the restricted area on the Mauna Kea Observatory Access Road or is lawfully within or entering or exiting an existing observatory or a facility operated by the University of Hawaii.

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