The Latest: Tulsi Gabbard weighs in on Hawaii telescope
HONOLULU (AP) — The Latest on protests of a telescope on Hawaii mountain (all times local):
U.S. presidential candidate and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has followed Bernie Sanders in supporting protesters fighting the construction of a giant telescope in Gabbard’s home state.
In a statement Friday, Gabbard says that while Thirty Meter Telescope has the legal authority to be built on the Big Island’s Mauna Kea, there are spiritual and cultural issues that are being ignored.
Sanders tweeted his endorsement earlier Friday saying native people’s right to self-determination needs to be protected. He added that he stands with Native Hawaiians trying to protect the mountain.
Gabbard chimed in later, saying the construction site is a “revered and sacred sanctuary” where Hawaiians practice cultural traditions.
Before her statement Friday, a week of calls and emails from The Associated Press to Gabbard to request comment on the protests went unanswered.
Activists have been illegally occupying the road leading to the summit since Monday. A group of 34 people have been arrested.
Hundreds of protesters trying to stop the construction of a giant telescope on land some consider sacred continue to gather at the base of Hawaii’s tallest mountain.
Protest leader Kaho’okahi Kanuha says Friday is shaping up to be another calm day. He says protesters have been bracing for law enforcement to show up in force ever since Gov. David Ige signed an emergency proclamation Wednesday giving authorities more control over access to the Big Island mountain.
That was the day officers arrested 34 protesters.
It’s the fifth day of protests at Mauna Kea in response to closing the road to the summit so that construction equipment can be taken up. No trucks have gone up.
There have been protests in other parts of Hawaii, including at the Capitol in Honolulu.