Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.
The University of Hawaii, which manages the astronomy facilities on top of Mauna Kea, said today that the road to the summit will remained closed for at least the rest of this week so that they can do repairs and maintenance resulting from the protests last week.
I think I finally understand what is going on, and why the protesters themselves offered last week to remove the boulder barricades they had built, something that had not made sense to me at the time.
Because of landslides and the hostile environment, the road needs constant maintenance. The barricades prevented that, which gave the governor and the University the justification to shut the road. And by shutting the road, the University has essentially locked the protesters out. I am sure that the repairs could be done much faster, but the University is probably dragging its feet to make sure they get all the protesters out and things cool down. When the reopen the road, I expect them to make sure it is secure and only official personal use it.
This is why the protesters suddenly offered to remove the barricades. They realized that they had shot themselves in the foot, and wanted to remedy the situation in a way that would allow them to continue protesting. It appears they have failed.