Charges won’t be refiled against TMT protesters

Hawaii Attorney General Anne Lopez will not refile charges against 38 people, mostly kupuna, who were arrested July 17, 2019, on the Maunakea Access Road while protesting the planned construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope.

“After extensive litigation in the original prosecution, dismissal of the cases in 2022 … I have decided that the continued pursuit of these cases is not in the best interests of the people of the state of Hawaii,” Lopez said in a statement Wednesday. “The Department of the Attorney General remains committed to upholding the rule of law, and any violations of state law will remain subject to prosecution to the fullest extent possible.”

The 38 were charged with obstructing public passage, a petty misdemeanor, for the blockade, which prevented construction workers, trucks and materials from ascending Maunakea to build the next-generation telescope on the summit.

Gov. Josh Green said he appreciates Lopez’s decision to not refile charges “against our kupuna who peacefully protested at Maunakea three years ago.”

“The time has come to build a new pathway forward that considers all people and is respectful of our host culture,” Green said in the same statement. “This is the kind of justice we want to see for our kupuna, who stood up for what they believe in — their culture and their ancestors.”

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