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About 500 protesters this morning blocked the access road on Mauna Kea that construction vehicles were going to use to begin construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT).
More than 500 protestors blocked Mauna Kea Access Road and chanted at the sun rose this morning, including seven who chained themselves to a cattle guard near the base of the road.
A convoy of state Department of Transportation vehicles carrying traffic control signage passed the intersection but made no effort to turn onto the access road.
More than a dozen elders with the protest movement sat on folding chairs and were joined by two protestors in wheelchairs at the bottom to the road as the crowd chanted and sang.
Police made no effort to disturb the protest. Gov. David Ige announced last week that the access road would be closed at 7 a.m. today to clear the way for heavy equipment for the controversial $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope.
Based on this report it sounds like the protesters have successfully prevented construction from beginning.
Several points: First, these protesters are breaking the law.
Second, these protesters had their day in court, and lost. In a civilized society, you accept such decisions. No civilization can function if some people think they will always get their way, even if the law and the majority rule against them.
Third, at this moment it appears that David Ige, the Democratic governor, is doing exactly what I expected. He is mouthing platitudes about supporting the law and the construction, while allowing the protesters to block it. Unless he takes action in the next day or so to remove the protesters and clear the road, the protests will grow and become unmanageable. At that point Ige will say that construction must be stopped to avoid bloodshed, and to honor the wishes of what must be a large percentage of the population.
That last part however is a lie. Polls have all indicated that the public wants TMT. And the law is on the public’s side here. It is Ige’s job to support both, not a small minority of unruly spoiled agitators.
Being a modern Democrat however, I expect Ige to favor the lawbreakers.