Protesters try to shut down the building plans of a telescope on top of a mountain due to sacred place
Mauna Kea, Hawaii’s highest mountain has been blocked by demonstrators in order to prevent the access to it. Also, the law enforcement officers got the mission to break any human blockade, given by Hawaii governor, David Ige. The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is believed to be the biggest in the world, with a budget of $1.4bn, it has already been for too long, a source of controversy in Hawaii, and the protesters declared it will represent trouble for the sacred land, and will also cause ecological damage.
The Supreme Court gave the permission in October that the structure should continue with its construction, even if the work was stopped after protests in 2015. But the protests this week, led only by native Hawaiian elders, arose after authorities declared that building work on the TMT was prepared to begin. According to local media reports, on Wednesday, the third day of protests, a human blockade with more than 1,000 people, was formed. Officials, on the other hand, don’t care that much about this action, because the project can’t be stopped. The police arrested people on that day because they refused to end their protests and stop the blockade, also, Mr. Ige later stated that he had issued the emergency declaration.
“The emergency proclamation gives law enforcement increased flexibility and authority to close more areas and restrict access to the mountain”, he said on Twitter.
“This will allow law enforcement to improve its management of the site and surrounding areas and ensure public safety.”
Why is Mauna Kea disputed?
Situated on Hawaii’s Big Island, Mauna Kea is a temporarily inactive volcano. No legal limits has been set currently to building the TMT on the site. Most Hawaiians though, believe that the mountain is sacred and they are opposed to the construction. What made the scientists to take into consideration this place, was the cloudless skies, low atmospheric water vapor and other things, as well. Mauna Kea doesn’t belong to the Hawaiian kingdom anymore, it’s only held by the state for the sake of native Hawaiians.
What will be the role of TMT?
With the help of TMT, the astronomers will make new discoveries regarding the creation of first sources of light, galaxies, black holes and planet foundation. TMT will include a 30m (98ft) wide mirror, making it the greatest telescope in the world.