HomePacific IslanderElderly protestors arrested. Building of telescope delayed in Hawaii

Elderly protestors arrested. Building of telescope delayed in Hawaii

More than 1,000 people descended on what they consider sacred Hawaiian land this week to form a blockade to stop the construction of a controversial giant telescope on Mauna Kea.

Police moved in to make an unknown 33 arrests, reported KHON. Among the first arrested, were elderly protestors.

“This mountain represents more than just their building that they want to build,” longtime activist Walter Ritte said in a video interview livestreamed by Hawaii News Now, via Twitter on Monday, reported Colorlines. “This mountain represents the last thing they want to take that we will not give them.” Ritte was one of eight people who chained themselves to a grate in the access road at the mountain’s base to block construction.

According to the BBC, the 30 meter telescope would be the largest in the world. Mauna Kea is held by the state in trust, supposedly for the benefit of Native Hawaiians.

Gizmodo reports that the protestors have won the support of some 200 astronomers who published an open letter .

“We call upon the astronomy community to recognize the broader historical context of this conflict and to denounce the criminalization of the protectors on Maunakea,” read the letter.

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