UPDATES, VIDEOS, PHOTOS: Mauna Kea Standoff Day 3: Kūpuna Arrested; Saddle Road Reopens

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Day three of the ongoing protests against construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope began with arrests.

5 PM

Gov. David Ige signed an Emergency Proclamation today, allowing additional state assets to support actions at Mauna Kea to ensure all lawful activities and the safety of everyone in the area. The proclamation expands the authority of law enforcement to control and manage areas on Mauna Kea.

There were an estimated 1,000 people at the intersection of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway (formerly known as Saddle Road) and the Mauna Kea Access Road.

Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers issued citations to 33 individuals, all were almost immediately released.

The citations were issued in accordance with Hawai‘i Revised Statutes for Obstructing Government Operations, a misdemeanor offense. Arraignments at Hilo District Court are scheduled for Sept. 20 at 8:30 a.m.


Four people were taken away in ambulances with minor health issues.

The Department of Transportation also temporarily closed an approximately 30-mile stretch of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway from 11:15 a.m. to 2:40 p.m. because law enforcement indicated that people and vehicles were posing a safety hazard.

Safety remains the state’s number one priority. Fortunately, despite the large crowd on a major highway, there were no injuries reported associated with the protest.

Drive carefully if you are in the area and expect increased traffic and possible delays.


3:30 PM

A Mauna Kea and TMT news conference will be posted on Gov. David Ige’s website at 3:30 today.

As of 3:30 today, 33 protestors were arrested. The governor issued an emergency proclamation for the area.


2:50 PM


Daniel K. Inouye Highway has reopened. Drive with caution. Mauna Kea Access Road remains closed until further notice.

2:30 PM

2:19 PM

According to a Big Island Now reporter on the scene on Mauna Kea, kia‘i and law enforcement have reached an agreement; if the Mauna Protectors move their vehicles from Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road), officers will stand down and leave the intersection.

However, there has been no official announcement about the reopening of Saddle Road.

Mauna Protectors, July 27, 2019. PC: Crystal Richard

1:54 PM

Although Daniel K. Inouye Highway (Saddle Road) is closed, media, protector, protestor and other vehicles are able to leave in either direction on the highway, according to DOT Deputy Director Ed Sniffen.

1:15 PM

12:30 PM

Mauna Protectors, July 27, 2019. PC: Crystal Richard

Hawai’i County Civil Defense advises that for safety reasons, the Daniel K. Inouye Highway, also known as the Saddle Road, is closed until further notice.

On the West Side, the closure is off Māmalahoa Highway at Mile Marker 42; local traffic only to Waiki‘i. All other traffic should avoid the area.

On the East Side, the closure is at Mile Marker 11, above Kaumana Drive.

It is not known how long the Daniel K. Inouye Highway closure will last. Your patience during this time is very much appreciated. You will be immediately informed when conditions change.

12:22 PM

OHA released a statement regarding the arrest of kūpuna on Maunakea.

Uē ka lani, naue ka honua: The heavens weep, the ground shakes.

The Native Hawaiian community weeps today. To see some of our most respected kūpuna, advocates and ʻohana get arrested for voicing the same concerns our community has expressed for decades over the state’s mismanagement of Maunakea brings a kaumaha to our hearts that is unbearable. Regardless of your position on TMT, we must all agree with Gov. Ige’s 2015 statement that the state has “failed” Maunakea.

OHA will continue to proceed with our lawsuit against the state and UH for their mismanagement of Maunakea. We continue to call for the state and UH to be held accountable as fiduciaries for our trust resources, and we demand that a new management structure is immediately installed for Maunakea.


Daniel K. Inouye Highway is closed above Kaumana Drive in Hilo and the Old Saddle Road intersection above Waiki‘i ranch subdivision in Waimea due to activity at the Mauna Kea Access Road intersection.

The roadway is blocked at mile 11 of Kaumana Drive, and mile 26, 28 and 42 of Waiki‘i Road. Use alternate routes.

It is not known how long the closure will last.

11:25 AM

11:15 AM

Dan Dennison, senior communications manager for the Department of Land and Natural Resources, talked to the media during a teleconference just minutes ago.

He said a more arrests had been made at the intersection but could not confirm numbers or charges.

Pohakuloa Training Area personnel are not involved at all, he added.

The safety of the kūpuna is still the state’s and law enforcements number one no 1 concern, along with security.

“This is a very complicated operation and we are proceeding one step at a time,” said Dennison.

He said there continues to be a lot of dialogue between the kia‘i and officers.

DOCARE officers, in many cases, were related to or friends with the people they were arresting.

Kupuna commented on the respectful, kind and compassionate way the officers were conducting their lawful duties.

The kupuna are going to be arraigned tomorrow.

Dennison said if there is a continuing need to secure the safety of project of the project, more citations will continue to be issued.

The road needs to be cleared.

He added the the US National Guard are not at intersection but are standing by in an unarmed support role so far.

Construction equipment is scheduled to move today. How many vehicles is and unknown.

Once all equipment has been moved, the road will reopen.

11 AM

Dan Ahuna, chair of the Ad-Hoc Committer on Maunakea issued a statement about the arrests on Maunakea.

“Our kupuna are being arrested. Fellow OHA Trustee Hulu Lindsey was taken into custody. Our voices are being ignored. I implore the Office of Hawaiian Affairs to immediately file an injunction to halt any further efforts by the State of Hawai‘i, UH and the Thirty Meter Telescope until the matters in our lawsuit are resolved.

The Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) is an acoustic hailing device used to send messages and warning tones over longer distances or at higher volume than normal loudspeakers. PC: Crystal Richard

10:43 AM

As of 10:43 a.m., 32 kūpuna have been arrested. One of those arrested was Carmen Hulu Lindsey, an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee.

Carmen Hulu Lindsey, an Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee, was arrested on July 17, 2019. PC: Darde Gamayo

8:49 AM

Law enforcement has allowed “kakoo person” (a medic) to accompany some of the kūpuna. The medic will not be charged.

8:40 AM

As of 8:40 a.m. this morning, 15 protestors/protectors/kūpuna are going to be charged with obstructing a government operation.

Arrests underway: 15 kupuna from the Mauna Protectors have been arrested and will be charged with obstructing a government operation under HRS711-1105. Law enforcement has allowed “kakoo person” aka a medic to accompany some of the kupuna. PC: Darde Gamayo

As of 8:40 a.m. this morning, 15 protestors/protectors/kūpuna are going to be charged with obstructing a government operation. PC: Crystal Richard

8 AM, JULY 17, 2019

As of 8 a.m. on July 17, 2019, no arrests have been made, but shortly thereafter, it was reported that Kona resident Billy Freitas had been taken into custody.

There are increased numbers of both state law enforcement and mauna protectors on site.

Daniel K. Inouye Highway, Saddle Road, is currently open to traffic.

Due to activity at the Mauna Kea Access Road intersection the following is advised:

Slow down and drive with caution as there are many pedestrians and vehicles along the roadside near the Mauna Kea Access Road.

Stopping and standing is not permitted near barriers.

Mauna Kea Access Road is closed to all traffic until further notice.

Check for updates and changes in road conditions.



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