HONOLULU (AP) — Eight people were arrested early Thursday during a protest against a Maui solar telescope, including a leader in the effort to stop a giant telescope on the Big Island.
Protesters gathered Wednesday night to attempt to stop a convoy delivering materials to Haleakala, where the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope is being built. Protest leaders say they're inspired by a similar effort to stop construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island's Mauna Kea.
Joshua Lanakila Mangauil, a leader of the Mauna Kea effort, was among those arrested for blocking a road leading up to Haleakala. He was released on $100 bail but couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
"It's the same issue, just on a different island on a different mountain," said Kahookahi Kanuha, another Mauna Kea protest leader who attended the Maui protest. "If we're going to stand for Mauna Kea, we have to stand for Haleakala."
Protesters on both islands cite sacredness of the land as a driving force behind their opposition to the telescopes.
About 150 protesters were at the base yard where the convoy departed, police said. The convoy was able to leave the base yard but encountered more protesters at Haleakala Crater Road, where there were "trees, rocks and glass on the road," police said in a statement.
The seven men and one woman who refused to move off the road while attempting to the block the convoy were arrested, police said.
Police in riot gear carried protesters into vans, said Kahele Dukelow of the protest group Kakoo Haleakala.
A police spokesman didn't immediately respond to questions about riot gear from The Associated Press.
"It was very militarized," Kanuha said. "Our side, we had lei ... their side they had guns, pepper spray. They had riot gear."
Twenty protesters were arrested during last month's effort to stop the convoy, which was also able to reach Haleakala's summit.
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