HONOLULU (KHON2) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige held a press conference the day before the ground break of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea on Sunday, July 14 around 2:40 p.m.
“There’s been lots of rumors and speculation about Maunakea,” Gov. Ige said. “I thought it was important that we have the opportunity to share information with all of you. I respect the right to peaceful protest, this means there’s no intention to intervene by law enforcement and any activity as long as participants are behaving in a lawful manner on open public land.”
Rumors, protestors, law enforcement, and safety were the main topics he touched upon.
Gov. Ige said that he was aware of a 12-hour vigil that began early Sunday morning on July 14. He says that the organizers of the event have informed him about it and have asked for there to be no law enforcement present at the vigil.
He says that they have honored that request and have made sure that law enforcement was aware so that the vigil could proceed.
As for Monday’s start of construction, safety was a major topic he placed emphasis on.
“Our number one priority is keeping our community safe,” he said.
The governor wanted to ensure that the construction workers working on the telescope will be able to proceed with their work without any problems.
When asked about rumors of protestors potentially using tear gas, Gov. Ige said that he doesn’t expect protestors to get out of line.
What he does know, however, is that law enforcement has prepared for every case scenario.
He also addressed rumors of sweeps on Maunakea at 8 p.m. Sunday. He said there are no planned sweeps.