VIDEO, PHOTOS: Maunakea Protectors Block Access Road
VIDEO: 9 a.m., July 15, 2019. VC: Crystal Richard
UPDATE: 9:15 AM
EXERCISE CAUTION AT INTERSECTION OF MAUNA KEA ACCESS ROAD AND THE DANIEL K. INOUYE HIGHWAY
The Hawai‘i Department of Transportation is urging all motorists to exercise caution as they approach the intersection of Mauna Kea Access Road and the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (DKI, formerly, Saddle Road) due to the increased activity on Mauna Kea Access Road.
HDOT has placed trucks with flashing lights on the shoulders of DKI a half-mile out from the intersection in both directions to warn motorists of the activity at the intersection. Should you be driving on DKI in this area, slow down to a reasonable speed and be prepared to stop for pedestrians in the roadway.
Mauna Kea Access Road, including the shoulders that are part of the highway right-of-way, is closed as of Monday, July 15, 2019.
The road will remain closed until further notice. HDOT will continue to provide updates on the limited access to Mauna Kea Access road and will notify the public when it is reopened.
UPDATE: 9 AM
Department of Land and Natural Resources officers on the scene said protestors will not be arrested unless they attempt to block the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road).
ORIGINAL POST: 8:22 AM, July 15, 2019
Eight Maunakea kia‘i (protectors) have chained themselves to the cattle guard on Mauna Kea Access Road in the early morning hours of Monday, July 15, 2019, the day the road is scheduled to close at 7 a.m. to make way for heavy equipment for the controversial $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope.Thirty Meter Telescope.
A dozen police officers watched as protesters chained themselves to the first cattle guard on Mauna Kea Access Road.
At the base of the access road this morning, protestors blocked a lane with a 15-foot sign that reads “Road closed due to desecration.”
Opponents of the project say the TMT is a desecration of a mountain that some Hawaiians consider sacred.
More than 500 protectors are on-site.
At 8 a.m., the Department of Conservation and Resources Enforcement closed the Mauna Kea Access Road to all traffic until further notice.
“This is our last stand as Hawaiians,” Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte said. “They’re trying to take the most sacred part from us, our mountain. We can’t allow that to happen.”
Ritte and fellow Hawaiian activist Kaleikoa Kaeo, a University of Hawai‘i Maui College Hawaiian studies professor said they had been locked to the grate since about the 3 a.m.
“We have no choice,” Kaeo said. “The state of Hawai‘i is treating its people like we are invisible. They will pay for their racism.”
VIDEO: 6 a.m., July 15, 2019. VC: Kaho‘okahi Kanuha
Kaho‘okahi Kanuha, leader of the kia‘i, said he expected a larger contingent of police and work crews to show anytime.
“When we say we’re going to protect Maunakea, we’re serious,” he said.
A Hawai‘i Department of Transportation convoy carrying traffic control signage passed the intersection but made no effort to turn onto the blocked road.
As of 8 a.m., police have made no effort to disturb the protest.
The DOT recommends travelers use the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road) as an alternate route.
They ask that drivers proceed with caution due to “many people and vehicles along the side of the road near the Mauna Kea Access Road.
VIDEO: Kahookahi Kanuha, Noenoe Wilson-Wong, Lanakila Manguail talk about TMT, July 14, 2019. VC: Crystal Richard
VIDEO: Gov. David Ige clarifies state’s position on TMT protestors, July 13, 2019. VC: KHON2