TMT protesters march to UH president’s home

Tourism arrivals in Hawaii are up, but still far below pre-pandemic levels
Published: Oct. 21, 2021 at 5:37 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 21, 2021 at 10:34 AM HST
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HONOLULU (AP) — In the ongoing protest over a giant telescope planned for Hawaii’s tallest mountain, a group marched to the state university system president’s home.

Tuesday’s march of about 70 protesters marked 2,400 days since heavy equipment first arrived on Mauna Kea in 2015, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Protesters have blocked construction. They say the Thirty Meter Telescope will desecrate land held sacred to Native Hawaiians.

Healani Sonoda-Pale, one of the protest leaders, said they marched to David Lassner’s Honolulu home because he has the power to stop the project.

The University of Hawaii manages the Big Island summit under a 65-year lease from the state that’s due to expire in 2033.

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Telescope opponents say the university has not properly managed the land and has ignored Native Hawaiians’ pleas to stop construction.

Protesters sang and chanted as they marched from Palolo Valley District Park to Lassner’s home about a mile away.

When they arrived, Lassner stepped out into his driveway and listened.

He acknowledged the group but did not speak to them, the newspaper reported.

The march also came as the university is accepting public input on a draft master plan for Mauna Kea, which reaffirms plans to decommission some observatories already on the mountain.

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