The state Department of Land and Natural Resources arrested seven people at 2 a.m. Friday morning for violating new rules restricting access to Mauna Kea, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.
On Maui, at least 20 people were arrested while blocking trucks that were heading up Haleakala, Hawaii News Now reported.
The arrests are the latest development in ongoing protests against the construction of new telescopes on mountains that some Native Hawaiians consider sacred.
The Mauna Kea arrests occurred at a camp by the Visitor Information Station about 9,000 feet up the mountain. That’s where dozens of protestors, who call themselves “protectors,” have been camping each night for months to block the construction of the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope.
Another six people on Mauna Kea received citations under the new rules that were approved three weeks ago by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.
On Maui, those arrested were part of a 200-person demonstration against the $300 million Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope. Hawaii News Now reported that the protestors lay down in the driveway and linked their arms together with PVC pipes.
Update Gov. David Ige issued a statement Friday morning in response to the Mauna Kea arrests:
“The emergency rules were enacted to ensure public safety and access after the road was blocked by boulders. The state has made sure people are aware of and understand the emergency rules before taking the next step. While we had hoped arrests would not have to be made in the process of citing violators last night, we were prepared to take action, and we did so.”
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