Protest against Thirty Meter Telescope spreading worldwide
Hawaiʻi News Now By Ben Gutierre Posted: Apr 08, 2015 9:31 PM HST
Updated: Apr 09, 2015 9:50 AM HST
Protests against the controversial Thirty Meter Telescope has spread far beyond the slopes of Mauna Kea. Rallies are now springing up around Hawaii, the mainland and around the world.
Protesters were arrested Thursday after blocking access to construction workers who were en route to the summit of Mauna Kea to begin work on the Thirty-Meter Telescope.
The movement against the telescope has been growing, even as construction has been halted for a week atop Mauna Kea.
Rallies were held Wednesday everywhere from Kailua-Kona to Kaneohe, where a traffic camera caught protesters holding signs along Kamehameha Highway and Likelike Highway.
The keiki at Halau Lokahi charter school also held signs and chanted along Waiakamilo Road.
"Mauna Kea is sacred, and our children are taught to respect our `aina," said teacher Leo Akana. "They understand that science is an important thing, but I think the state needs to realize that Hawaiians were the very first astronomers here."
The chorus of opposition has spread to the mainland. Dozens gathered at the iconic Las Vegas sign with signs and Hawaiian flags.
"We have to protect our `aina, we have to protect our culture, and as a people I think its important for us to gather here today to protect us as a Hawaiian people," said Las Vegas protester Nicole Oamilda.
Another gathering was held Wednesday evening atop Twin Peaks, the highest point in San Francisco. Hawaii musician Steven Espaniola, who now lives in the Bay Area, was among those there.
"I think the folks, especially here on the mainland, there's a sense of togethernes that we all feel, and it doesn't take much for us to get that call to action and start moving on something," he said.
If anything, the movement is only getting bigger, as more people are joining rallies or posting photos of support, everywhere from Oregon to Kentucky, New Mexico, North Dakota, Georgia and Massachusetts. There are even pictures and rallies from Korea, New Zealand, England and Germany.
Many of the gatherings are being spurred by social media. "That's how it spread so quickly," said Espaniola. "Just thank goodness for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter."
According to Espaniola, organizers in San Francisco are planning more rallies in the coming days. That also will likely be the case in Hawaii itself.
"Our people are not going to stand back," said Leo Akana. "We're going to continue to move forward."