Protesters accept offer from Kim; access road will be cleared

The protesters blocking the Maunakea Access Road have accepted an offer from Mayor Harry Kim to clear the road in exchange for a guarantee that there would be no construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope for two months.

Protest leader Noe Noe Wong-Wilson told the Tribune-Herald that kupuna, or elders, received Kim’s offer in writing earlier today and deliberated for hours about whether to accept it.

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Ultimately, the kupuna reached a consensus to take Kim at his word and accept his offer. Wong-Wilson said the main kupuna tent, which has blocked the access road since July, will be moved in the next few days.

Wong-Wilson said they have Kim’s assurance that no TMT construction or police raids will occur until the end of February, and that Kim will seek to extend that period of clemency longer if necessary.

During this time, Wong-Wilson said the protesters will continue to negotiate with the county, state and TMT.

“We’re taking this as a victory,” Wong-Wilson said.

In a statement later in the day from Civil Defense, Kim announced that the access road is temporarily closed to the public because the road is being cleared to make it completely accessible to the public.

“During the road closure, access will be limited to telescope personnel, ranchers, conservation workers, hunters and cultural practitioners, as previously arranged,” according to the statement.

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The road will reopen to the general public on Saturday, which coincided with the reopening of Maunakea Visitor Information Station.

See Friday’s Tribune-Herald for more about this story.

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