Tension breaks out between community residents and Mauna Kea activists

Tension breaks out between community residents and Mauna Kea activists
Published: Jul. 15, 2015 at 1:54 AM HST
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Liliha - As news broke that Governor David Ige signed into effect rules restricting road access to the Mauna Kea summit activists took to the internet. They encouraged each other via social media to crash Governor David Ige's town hall meeting Tuesday night.  The Governor along with state and city representatives were at Lanakila Elementary School to hear about community concerns. But what broke out was a shouting match between activists and neighborhood residents.

"Can we keep the questions about Liliha and not the Big Island," shouted members of the crowd.

Neighbors wanted to talk about homelessness, housing and roads. But activists kept asking about the TMT...challenging the Governor on the new rules he just passed to clear out protestors.

"We just want to ensure there's safe access to Mauna Kea for all users," said Governor Ige.

With camping gear now banned...and overnight road closures in effect...many activists feel preyed upon. Now they once again expressed fears the national guard would be mobilized to quell the protest.

"There's not been any conversation about using National Guard at this time," assured Governor Ige.

But the Governor did not say he would rule the National Guard out.

"We are not planning for it," said Governor Ige. "There have been no conversations about that, but we are also committed to providing safe access. So if 10-thousand people want to get up to Mauna Kea that's a bad situation."

The Governor says he continues to work with county police, sheriffs and enforcement officers from the Department of Land and Natural Resources. Ige says ensuring safe access and upholding whatever decisions were made prior to his taking office are his priorities. The Governor also stressed to activists that if they are hoping he'll stop construction of TMT--he will not. Governor Ige says he does not have the authority to shut the project down.