Day four of protest at Mauna Kea is quieter but still strong

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hundreds who came together at the base of Mauna Kea to oppose the construction of the $1.4 Billion Thirty Meter Telescope, spent the day relaxing and waiting in anticipation.

“We are using this time to rejuvenate a little bit, to organize a little bit but by no means do we anticipate that this is a sign that the State of Hawaii is backing off or that the State of Hawaii is weakening in any way because we know that their Governor signed his emergency proclamation yesterday,” Kahookahi Kanuha, Kiai of Mauna Kea said.

It feels like the calm before what is likely to be another round of engagement between the Kiai and law enforcement.

“We anticipate that whenever they do return either later today or tonight or tomorrow that they will be coming in full force,” said Kanuha.

Though the kiai refuse to clear the path for heavy equipment to go up the mountain to build TMT, they freely cleared the road for water to be taken up the mountain for those who need it.

One group no longer at the top of the Mountain is the workers and technicians of them Mauna Kea Observatories.

All of the scientists left the facilities on Tuesday due to safety concerns regarding access to the mountain.

Richard Matsuda, WM Keck Observatory Chief of Operations said, “That any and no one is occupying the facilities upon the summit right now and without personnel up there we are unable to operate.”

They’ve chosen not to operate remotely to avoid issues that could arise with the telescopes.

Though Matsuda says they aren’t losing money, they are losing science.

They’ve already had to cancel one Science program that involved observing the supermassive black hole at the center of the Galaxy

Matsuda said, “They were doing that in conjunction with several other facilities around the world so that research is now missing the Mauna Kea piece.”

Matsuda says the current protests regarding TMT being built are complicated

He said, “Many of us feel very conflicted about how things are so it’s not easy it’s not easy for any of us.”

But he says without proper maintenance the complex instrumentation could become jeopardized within a matter of days.

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