As TMT protest drags on, activists fear law enforcement action is imminent

Published: Sep. 5, 2019 at 5:47 AM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - A state senator from the Big Island says the governor and Hawaii County’s mayor should be ashamed for the situation on Mauna Kea.

State Sen. Lorraine Inouye’s complaint was inspired by the construction of a small building at the Mauna Kea protest camp, which the county and state are now figuring out how to handle.

Meanwhile, anti-TMT leaders are predicting they could be forced out in the next few weeks.

The numbers of activists on the mountain have gone down since the early weeks in mid-July.

Wednesday marked the 52nd day of the standoff, and those still at the protest camp range from a couple hundred to a thousand depending on the day.

There are also no parking signs posted and fewer cars along the highway.

Those living at the protest camp are going up daily life, getting haircuts or even tattoos as they hold their ground.

Despite this quiet period, those who call themselves protectors of Mauna Kea are warning their supporters to expect law enforcement action in the next 30 days.

“I don’t think anybody anticipates this going on too much longer without any type of action or effort on behalf of law enforcement and the state to either clear the road or move machines up the road,” said TMT opposition leader Kahookahi Kanuha.

The attorney general’s office won’t say when law enforcement will move in to arrest people for blocking the road from TMT’s construction, but did say in a statement that law enforcement has acted professionally.

Hawaii News Now has also obtained a mass email by Hawaii Island state Sen. Lorraine Inouye to Gov. David Ige, the Big Island’s mayor and a slew of other officials complaining of ‘lawlessness’.

"Shame on all of us for allowing this to happen," she wrote in her email.

"The situation is rapidly deteriorating. Look at what's being constructed? They are calling it a Learning Center," the email continued.

When asked to explain her views, Inouye told Hawaii News Now that she would respond. HNN has not heard back yet.

“I don’t blame them because of the frustration. This is why I took over... the Saddle Road is okay now. I’ve taken over that. The Access Road that’s under the control of the state,” said Kim.

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