Governor David Ige made it clear that the state respects the right to peaceful protests and has no intention to intervene so long as it’s done in a lawful manner. He goes on to say that officials were informed about the ceremony or the 12-hour vigil.
That vigil was scheduled to end at six Sunday evening and Governor Ige says he wanted to address some of the rumors going around. Governor Ige went on record to say as of Sunday night there are no sweeps planned on Mauna Kea.
“The request from the organizers was that they would prefer not to have law enforcement presence and so we have honored that to the extent that the activities were safe,” said the Governor. “There’s no sweeps planned at this point.”
However, law enforcement officials have been preparing for the start of construction on Monday.
“We have formal professional trainers who have gone through law enforcement talked about how to remain calm in situations, how to de-escalate crowds, and how to manage large groups of people.”
As to what kinds of equipment officers will have at hand, Governor Ige deferred those questions to the Hawaii County Police Chief.
“I can’t really comment on what provisions the law enforcement personnel will have on site. I know that they have been preparing in different ways,” said the Governor. “We want to remind people that the men and woman in law enforcement are your neighbors. Their commitment is to their responsibility, which is to keep our community safe and to keep the roads passable.”
We could not reach the Hawaii County Police Department spokesperson for comment at this time. We asked if the state has any plans to give demonstrators a place to practice their religion and culture on Mauna Kea.
“We are looking at those on a case by case bases. We would accommodate activities that do not interfere or do not create a safety concern with the ongoing construction activities,” Governor Ige said.