The protest against the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) at Mauna Kea is going on its sixth week and more protesters are joining in the fight to save the sacred land from desecration. According to organizers, there have been 10,000 to 15,000 people who have been to the mountain in support of the protest.
The Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) should not be built at Mauna Kea, they contend, raising issues of indigenous rights, sovereignty and environmental stewardship.
Many protesters, also referred to as protectors, are making a stand to be caretakers of their native land, said Lanakila Mangauil, a Hawaiian culture and history public school teacher.
Seeing numerous new faces blocking the access road up Mauna Kea, Mangauil told USA TODAY, takes his breath away.
For scientists, however, Mauna Kea is at a prime location for astronomy especially in their pursuit to find extraterrestrial life. So far, there are already thirteen telescopes stationed on Mauna Kea, but the planned Thirty Meter Telescope would be the largest.
The TMT project had only been approved in 2014 by the Supreme Court of Hawaii however, plans of constructing it were already under way since 2009.
(Image credit: Caleb Jones/AP)