Threat of severe weather isn’t stopping TMT opponents from standing their ground

Updated: Aug. 3, 2019 at 5:12 PM HST
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MAUNA KEA, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) -The weather isn’t slowing down the Thirty Meter Telescope protest near Mauna Kea, which is about to enter its fourth week.

At least a thousand people were at the base of Mauna Kea Saturday where the road is still being blocked off.

Crowds grow significantly in size over the weekends, and more people are still showing up, whether or not there are tropical cyclones in the neighborhood.

They say the weather wasn’t that bad as Tropical Storm Erick passes south of the island.

“We had a fair amount of rain, and the wind was up a little bit. But frankly it didn’t get any worse than sometimes it is in Hilo,” Noenoe Wong-Wilson said.

Wong-Wilson says they did take down smaller tents., but they aren’t expecting much from Tropical Storm Flossie.

"We’re not in any hurricane preparedness at the moment. We’re returning to normal operations and still here. Wong-Wilson added.

Those normal operations include music and cultural practices that are drawing an increasing number of people from outside the Big Island — and even outside the state..

“And we think that the importance of cultural practice is something that is not fully recognized and appreciated, and it should be. So I came in to visit some friends and to pay respects,” Fla. visitor Lisa Merritt said.

Gov. Ige has said he remains committed to having the TMT project move forward and to keep everyone safe. But at least one visiting state lawmaker isn’t going along.

“I just pray for the mayor here and the governor to realize as our people going heal, as a state, as an island, even as a nation, we need to start now. And just ask these guys to find someplace else to go,” Sen. Kurt Fevella who represents Ewa Beach, said.

And that’s what organizers say it will take for them to leave.

“Until TMT decides to go to La Palma. Absolutely. We’re resolved to be here for the long haul,” Wong-Wilson said.

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