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Two protesters who blocked a road leading to the summit of Mauna Kea to block construction vehicles for the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) have been convicted of misdeamenors and given very minor sentences.
The state requested six months’ probation, and that they stay off Mauna Kea Access Road for the period of probation. Prosecutors also requested 72 hours of community service in lieu of a $500 fine. Fujiyoshi [one of the protesters] asked for a jail sentence instead of community service, and was sentenced to five days. He will serve one day in jail, with credit for time served; six months’ probation; and was ordered to remain off the access road. Lindsey-Kaapuni [the other protester] argued against probation, and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.
The state here has no easy solution. If it demands severe punishment the press will make the protesters martyrs. If it lets them off then the protesters will know they can protest as much as they want and face no consequences.
Right now I do not see TMT ever getting built on Mauna Kea. I also see the slow removal of the telescopes already there to be certain, given time. The protesters are in control, and they oppose this search for knowledge about the universe.