Eight people were arrested early Wednesday morning at a protest camp across the road from the Mauna Kea Visitors Center on Hawaii Island.

According to a press release from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which has authority to enforce rules on the mountain, seven women and one man were arrested for being present “in the restricted area, outlined in the emergency rule passed by the Board of Land and Natural Resources and signed by Governor Ige.”

The men and women were transported by the Hawaii County Police Department to Hilo for booking.

TMT arrests by DLNR Sept 2015

Screen shot taken Sept. 15.


Protesters on Mauna Kea, many of whom call themselves protectors of a mountain they consider sacred to many Native Hawaiians, have fought for months to block construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope. Just last month, a lawsuit arguing that the state erred in permitting the TMT project was heard by the Hawaii Supreme Court.

DLNR said in a statement not long after the arrests, “This is the second law enforcement action on Mauna Kea, since the enactment of the 120-day-long emergency rule, intended to establish safe conditions on the mountain for protestors, observatory workers and visitors. During an earlier round of enforcement on July 31, 2015, six people received citations and seven people were arrested.”

Twenty officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement made the arrests.

Those arrested were Bronson Kobayashi, 23, of Hilo; Sandy Kamaka, 46, of Kailua-Kona; Hawane Rios, 26, of Waimea; Jennifer Leinaala Sleightholm, 41, of Waikoloa; Shanell Subica, 43, of Kailua-Kona; Kuuipo Freitas, 26, of Kona; Patricia Ikeda, 65, of Captain Cook; and Ruth Aloua, 26, of Kailua-Kona.

Bail for Kobayashi was set at $1,000 because he is a repeat offender of the emergency rule, said DLNR. Bail for all others was set at $250.

The Facebook page for Protect Mauna Kea has posted video of the arrests taken by DLNR and commented on it, including this statement:

 DLNR footage. Scary new paradigm: DLNR or police shoot footage, edit it, and release it from their perspective. They will then often try to block other cameras (saying it is already being “documented”). Fortunately, in this case other cameras were rolling too. Aloha to all the brave warriors!!!

Click here to view video taken by a woman identifying herself as Kuuiopomana, also posted Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is condemning the arrests. In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, it also said:

“The Office of Hawaiian Affairs strongly condemns this morning’s arrests on Mauna Kea and again urges the state to cease further enforcement action and arrests until legal questions relating to the Mauna Kea emergency rules are properly resolved. It is our understanding that the individuals were arrested this morning while they were in the act of pule, or prayer.

Native Hawaiians have constitutionally protected rights to reasonably engage in traditional and customary practices, and regulations cannot eliminate the exercise of these rights. We hope for a resolution that ensures our beneficiaries’ rights are protected instead of violated.”

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