UPDATE: 4 p.m.
Paddlers, club officials and spectators showed their support for the Mauna Kea protestors today during the Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association championships at Keehi Lagoon.
The association stopped the competition early during the event and gathered paddlers near the officials stand.
Some clubs, such as the Waikiki Surf Club, brought their canoes onto shore. During their show of support, which included singing and chanting, members held their canoes over their heads.
MAUNA KEA >> Sunday morning on Mauna Kea featured a calmer crowd than Saturday. Possibly to keep those present engaged, organizers of the protest against the Thirty Meter Telescope scheduled a variety of workshops and training sessions throughout the day.
Some of those workshops were aimed at sharing Hawaiian culture, although others were meant for practicing “nonviolent direct action” in the event that law officers showed up.
There was no sign that officers would be arriving.
Hundreds of protesters marched along Kalauaka Avenue this morning in opposition to the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope at Mauna Kea on Hawaii island.
Organizers circulated flyers via social media for the “Waikiki for Mauna Kea” march, with TMT opponents gathering near the intersection of Kalakaua and Kuhio avenues around 10 a.m.
Traffic in the area was back to normal shortly after noon.
SATURDAY, 6:40 p.m.
Hawaii island Mayor Harry Kim visited Mauna Kea Access Road this afternoon to praise the protesters for their behavior.
“We all see different things, but I’ll tell you how I feel: For the first time in my 80 years of life, I see a group of people finally coming together to feel proud of being who you are, because you are the most beautiful, warmest, givingest people on God’s Earth,” he said to a crowd of hundreds in front of the tent blocking access to Mauna Kea.
He also commended their dedication to nonviolence.
“You know, this could’ve turned ugly a long time ago,” Kim said. “I’m complimenting you and thanking you for the way you’re conducting yourself for the world to see.”
Kim has been helping with TMT planning.
MAUNA KEA >> Rep. Daniel Holt, chairman of the House of Representatives Hawaiian Caucus, is urging Gov. David Ige to immediately rescind his emergency proclamation.
“It has become evident from the number of demonstrations across the State that the events on Mauna Kea impact all residents of Hawai‘i, whether or not they are of Native Hawaiian ancestry,” he said in a news release following a similar statement from the Senate Hawaiian Caucus earlier today.
“When an issue of this magnitude and sensitivity arises, it demands an approach of utmost care and understanding. We ask that Governor Ige immediately rescind the proclamation of emergency in order to de-escalate the situation and to allow space for the voices of Hawaii’s people to be heard. It is inappropriate to respond to peaceful protests with disproportionate force,” the House Hawaiian Caucus statement said.
The Army’s 100th Battalion/442nd Infantry Regiment “has arrived in Hawaii County for training,” but it has nothing to do with the standoff on Mauna Kea, state officials said today.
Protesters have expressed concern about the possibility of Hawaii Army National Guard troops clearing them out.
But Jason Redulla, chief of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, emphasized that the 100th Battalion/442nd is an Army reserve unit that has “no affiliation” with either the Hawaii National Guard or TMT.
He estimated that about 1,400 people have gathered today at the base of Mauna Kea and “it looked like more people were arriving.”
Redulla declined to release the number of law enforcement officers in the area.
Redulla mostly refused to comment on Gov. David Ige’s comments that the Mauna Kea protests were unsafe and contained drugs and alcohol.
“The governor’s my boss, and the governor’s statements will stand,” he said in a press conference today.
He said he hasn’t witnessed drugs at the protest site first-hand and wouldn’t characterize it as “disorderly.”
MAUNA KEA >> The Hawaii State Senate Hawaiian Caucus is supporting the peaceful demonstrations at Mauna Kea.
“We stand with the people engaged in peaceful demonstration on Mauna Kea and around Hawaii,” the group said in a news release today. “The Thirty Meter Telescope controversy underscores critical issues in our community, and calls for the highest levels of care and mutual respect.”
The caucus is also asking Ige to reconsider his emergency proclamation.
“While we support the Governor’s commitment not to deploy the national guard, we ask that the Governor rescind his emergency proclamation in order to deescalate tensions. It is vitally important that people on both sides continue to engage in kapu aloha and use non-violent means to express themselves and seek redress.”
MAUNA KEA >> Honolulu City Councilwoman Heidi Tsuneyoshi today visited demonstrators on the mountain and called the protests “a state of humanity.”
Tsuneyoshi, who arrived at the base of Mauna Kea Access Road this morning, contrasted her experience following Gov. David Ige’s emergency proclamation.
“I have to say that since being here, I do not see a state of emergency,” she said. “I actually see a state of humanity.”
Gov. David Ige declared an emergency proclamation Wednesday to suspend various state and county laws and allow for mandatory evacuations of civilians.
In a Friday press conference, Ige said, “There are reports of drugs and alcohol use. There are many groups and they don’t all agree about why they are there and what they intend to do. Leaders of the pu‘uhonua have not been able to maintain order and the neutral terms of the pu‘uhonua. The emergency proclamation remains in effect because of the unsafe situation.”
However, Tsuneyoshi said she saw the exact opposite.
“The order that is here and the feeling that is here is one of peace and harmony — and something that we can all learn from,” she said.
Andria Tupola, who ran for governor in 2018, visited the protest site Friday. She shared an Instagram video after leaving Mauna Kea and praised the organization of the protest.
“There were children there, and they definitely weren’t even allowing anyone to smoke,” she said. “So as far as them saying there were drugs and whatever else, maybe I didn’t see it, but honestly was that necessary to say when really the person who said that statement hadn’t been up to the mountain, hadn’t seen those things for himself?”
MAUNA KEA >> Thirty Meter Telescope protesters today agreed to allow a few unarmed Hawaii National Guard officers through the blockade on Mauna Kea Access Road.
In a meeting this morning, protest leaders (kupuna) agreed to let 14 National Guard and several Honolulu police officers to relieve the officers on duty along the access road. The officers are unarmed with no arrest authority.
The agreement was made to relieve the officers on the road, including DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement officers and sheriffs from Oahu. There currently aren’t any National Guard officers present at this time. Protesters said they don’t want increased law enforcement on Mauna Kea.
In exchange, they are asking for better road signage on the intersection of Saddle Road and the access road to improve safety for pedestrians and drivers. Traffic is being managed by protest volunteers.
Road safety at the intersection is a concern as people constantly need to cross the street. The blockade is separated from bathrooms, food and drink and about half the parked cars by Saddle Road.
Over 1,200 people on Mauna Kea today continued protesting the planned construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Hawaii’s tallest mountain, a day after Gov. David Ige told reporters he would not call additional Hawaii National Guard troops at this time.
Honolulu City Council member Heidi Tsuneyoshi will be holding a press conference at 11 a.m. today on Mauna Kea to discuss her support for demonstrators opposing the construction of the $1.4 billion high-powered telescope.
Ige previously said the state was not poised to sweep TMT opponents from their encampment along Mauna Kea Access Road, which had been widely rumored.
Today marked Day 6 of protests.