The Latest: Work set to begin Monday on disputed telescope

MAUNA KEA, Hawaii (AP) — The Latest on the start of work to build a massive telescope on a site considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians (all times local):

4:05 a.m.

State and local officials will try to close a road to the summit of Hawaii’s tallest mountain Monday morning to allow trucks carrying construction equipment to make their way to the top to begin construction of a giant telescope on land that some Native Hawaiians consider sacred.

Hundreds of demonstrators are gathered to protest the construction.

Officials say anyone breaking the law will be prosecuted. Protesters who blocked the roadway during previous attempts to begin construction have been arrested.

Scientists hope the massive will help them peer back to the time just after the Big Bang and answer fundamental questions about the universe.

But some Native Hawaiians consider the land holy, as a realm of gods and a place of worship.

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5:20 p.m.

About a hundred protesters are holding a vigil at the base of an access road to the construction site of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

The protesters, who oppose building the telescope on what they say is sacred land atop Mauna Kea mountain, blew conch shells and held Hawaiian religious ceremonies Sunday. A police car drove by the scene.

Work on the telescope is scheduled to start Monday. Scientists hope the massive telescope they plan to build atop Hawaii’s highest peak, a world-renowned location for astronomy, will help answer fundamental questions about the universe.

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3:30 p.m.

At a short news conference Sunday, Gov. David Ige said that “respected the right of people to protest” at the site of the Thirty Meter Telescope as long as protesters behave lawfully.

Ige noted that several hundred people were at a vigil Sunday near the construction site.

“As construction begins, our number one priority is keeping everyone safe,” Ige said, adding that he wants to make sure construction workers and truck drivers have unimpeded access to the telescope site.

Ige said that law enforcement agencies have prepared for every scenario, and they have coordinated their efforts.

Scientists hope the massive telescope they plan to build atop Hawaii’s highest peak, a world-renowned location for astronomy, will help answer fundamental questions about the universe.

But the site where they plan to build is considered by some Native Hawaiians as a realm of gods and a place of worship and prayer.

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5:51 a.m.

Scientists hope the massive telescope they plan to build atop Hawaii’s highest peak, a world-renowned location for astronomy, will help them peer back to the time just after the Big Bang and answer fundamental questions about the universe.

But the site where they plan to build is considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians — a realm of gods and a place of worship and prayer.

The road to Mauna Kea’s summit will be closed Monday morning as trucks carrying construction gear start to make their way to the peak.

Alongside them will be Native Hawaiian and other protesters who are willing to get arrested to stop the development.

The project already has been delayed by years of legal battles and demonstrations, drawing attention from the likes of “Aquaman” actor Jason Momoa, who has Native Hawaiian ancestry and has voiced opposition to the telescope.

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