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PHOTOS: Negotiations Continue on Mauna Kea

July 16, 2019, 8:27 AM HST
* Updated July 16, 2:43 PM
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UPDATE: 7:55 PM, July 15, 2019

The kia‘i granted access to 11 state enforcement vehicles and to Maunakea Access Road. Vehicles included three police vans. The kia’i checkpoint is being moved further up the road.

6 AM–6PM, July 15, 2019, 

State Attorney General investigators; Department of Land and Natural Resources officers from Maui, O‘ahu and Hawai‘i Island and the state Sheriff’s Department were all on the scene of the still ongoing protests on Mauna Kea Access Road.

Hawaiian groups and others are protesting preparations for the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, which began that day, Monday, July 15, 2019.

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The AG investigators, DLNR officers and Sheriff’s Department organizations seemed to be involved in disputes over decisions throughout the day.

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Big Island Now was told that the three organization were operating under different orders. No one would clarify who was “on the other end” making the decisions.

Originally, kia‘i (protectors) and members of the media were told that all eight chained to the cattle guard were under arrest but that no actions had been taken. When asked what that meant, they would not explain.

They allowed at least one of the chained kūpuna, Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte, to unchain to use the restroom and then allowed him to rechain himself to the cattle guard.

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Around 4 to 5 p.m. the Attorney General Investigators told protestors that they would stand down for the day, and went up Maunakea to the Hale Pohaku area where they are staying.

The eight kia‘i then unchained themselves and the line of kūpuna returned to puʻuhuluhulu, their camp at the base of Mauna Kea Access Road.

The state then brought in several trucks, including a water truck and welding equipment.

The state erected a red gate on posts at the cattle guard.

This upset the protectors, who said some felt they broke their promise, so they went back onto Mauna Kea Access Road.

The negotiating continued at this point and hundreds were back in the road with kūpuna back on the front line.

The state removed the gate that had just been installed. Then they negotiated with the kia‘i to get the equipment and trucks back down.

Because the protestors were now blocking the road, instead of using the roadway, they went around off the side of the access road.

That was supposedly then end of activities and negotiations for both sides for today.

On Tuesday, July 16, the Hawai‘i Department of Transportation plans to secure the Daniel K. Inouye Highway by installing barricades so no one can parks along the road like they did Monday.

The protectors are considering this a win—but tomorrow is another day.

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