UPDATE: Kupuna criticize Ige, condemn arrests

  • A group of kupuna held a press conference this morning at the protest site on Maunkea Access Road. From right are: Keoni Awau Turalde, Noe Noe Wong-Wilson, Billy Freitas and Vicky Takamine.
  • TMT protesters on the Mauneakea Access Road this morning.

UPDATED 10:53 a.m.

A group of kupuna just held a press conference at the protest site. They condemned Gov. David Ige for his handling of the protest and his emergency declaration on Wednesday.

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“Our illustrious governor has decided to abuse his power,” said Walter Ritte. “Bringing the National Guard here is an insult to us as Hawaiians.”

Ritte said Ige “might be impeached before (President Trump) is impeached,” adding that if the protesters are swept away here, Hawaiians everywhere must rise up.

Billy Freitas, speaking directly about Ige, said: “If your actions here hurt our keiki (children), or keiki anywhere, it would not look good on you, and it doesn’t look good on you now.”

Freitas was one of the 33 kupuna protesters arrested Wednesday.

He said being arrested was “very overwhelming.”

“This action by Ige will be intensified,” he said.

Noe Noe Wong-Wilson said protesters were “boiling with rage and hurt” watching Wednesday’s arrests, but “there was not a single harsh word said.”

Her message to the governor: “Perhaps it’s time for you to come down here yourself.”

PREVIOUSLY

Hundreds of Thirty Meter Telescope opponents have set up on and near the Mauna Kea Access Road this morning for the fourth consecutive day of their protest against the $1.4 billion project.

So far this morning the scene is calm.

Protesters are relaxing, chatting and milling about their makeshift checkpoint just north of the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

About a dozen police vehicles are stationed a couple hundred feet past the checkpoint by the cattle guard that was the site of a standoff two days ago.

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Many camp chairs line both sides of the road, perhaps in anticipation of another long day ahead.

The large protester camp remains just across the highway at Puʻu Huluhulu.

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