Thirty Meter Telescope has green light, but protesters aren’t giving up fight

Thirty Meter Telescope has green light, but protesters aren’t giving up fight

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thirty Meter Telescope opponents are still fighting to block the $1.4 billion dollar project ― even though it’s been green lighted by the state Supreme Court.

Some are even preparing to be arrested again.

On Monday, Native Hawaiians gathered at the University of Hawaii at Manoa campus to honor the season of Ku ― and honor those who stand for Mauna Kea. Some 2,000 feet of ti leaf cordage were presented at an alter to represent a coming together of TMT opponents.

“We’ll never give up. Who would ever stop fighting to protect their grandmother?” said Lanakila Mangauil, of Hawaii island.

Some say they’re willing to be arrested in peaceful protest as a last resort, including Mangauil and Hawane Rios.

In September 2015, Rios and others were arrested after TMT opponents had been camping there for 168 days.

"It was an experience that I carry with me. I was arrested in prayer with seven other women," she said.

"Even though there are moments that are trying and it's so deeply emotional, what I see is a strength in our people," she added.

Both TMT and the UH say they support free speech.

“The University of Hawaii is committed to the open exchange of ideas and affirms the rights of all individuals to engage in free speech and other activity guaranteed by the First Amendment," the university said, in a statement.

“UH is proud to be a vibrant hub of disparate opinions, including those that oppose specific actions of the university. The university is committed to continuing to work with the community as well as the state, OHA and others toward ongoing improvement in the stewardship of Mauna Kea.”

Meanwhile, TMT reportedly has also nearly finished its permit for its backup site in the Canary Islands.

“They have other options. We don’t have other options. This is our mountain. We hear that their permits are moving forward in the Canary Islands so I’m just encouraging them, please take that offer,” said Mangauil.

TMT opponents have also been trying the funding route, asking developers and countries to withhold funding. There’s no word if any have agreed.

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