KAHULUI, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Protests against construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea has refocused attention to the summit of Haleakala on Maui, where construction has been underway on the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.
Demonstrators gathered at the Central Maui Baseyard south of Kahului to mark a phase of the construction that was scheduled to begin Wednesday night. A wide load convoy was set to leave at 10 p.m. to deliver telescope equipment to the summit.
The equipment is large enough that the summit highway is closed to the public until 2 p.m. Thursday, as the trucks will be moving very slowly up the mountain.
Organizers believe the turnout was boosted by Wednesday's events at Mauna Kea.
"Especially after the arrests earlier today, and with Governor Ige's statement (about TMT construction being halted), I think that also did bring more people out, committed to standing in kapu aloha and offering their 'oli and pule," said organizer Trinette Furtado.
Protesters have been unhappy that construction on the solar telescope atop Haleakala has continued, even though it is being challenged in a case before the Hawaii Supreme Court. It's not known when the high court will make its ruling.
The $300 million telescope named after the late senator is already half finished. When it is completed, it will be the third-largest telescope in the state.
The road closure means that no one will be able to go to the Haleakala summit to watch the sunrise Thursday morning.