Native Hawaiian leaders outline requests for Mauna Kea

Mauna Kea (Photo: Mary Alice Kaiulani Milham)

The protest continues on Mauna Kea against the building of what will become the world’s largest optical telescope.

On Friday, Native Hawaiian leaders called for a stop to the arrests that took place Thursday.

State enforcement officers, along with Big Island police, brought a dozen demonstrators into custody. Authorities said they were blocking access to construction workers who were en route to the summit to begin work on the telescope.

“They had other alternatives and they decided not to take those alternatives, which would be more peaceful alternatives that would allow these things to happen,” said Walter Ritte.

Leaders also want a 30-day moratorium on construction so that everyone, including the University of Hawaii, which manages activity on the volcano, and the state, could discuss the future of any observatory to be built atop the mountain.

“I hope we can do some course correction and in calling out, in a friendly way, I mean this in all respect to the governor and to (UH president David) Lassner to again stand down on the construction, moratorium, organize somebody, politic that can revisit the entire management plan of the public trust lands on Mauna Kea,” said Peter Apo.

“There are legal concerns still in the courtroom, so allow these things, out of courtesy, allow them to happen before you do your arrests,” added Ritte.

A spokesman for Lassner said the university is actively addressing the issue.

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