Hawaii Governor Says Protests Atop Volcano Are Acts Of Vandalism

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii Gov. David Ige says recent attempts to block the road to the summit of Mauna Kea were unlawful and unacceptable.

Hundreds of protesters had flocked to Mauna Kea on Hawaii’s Big Island to prevent construction of a giant telescope from resuming. A dozen people were arrested and charged with obstructing. Ige said in a statement Friday that the state will do whatever is necessary to ensure that the road remains accessible. He says when the roadway was blocked with rocks and boulders that was an act of vandalism.

The $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope is planned atop a mountain that some view as sacred.

Ige says the state values the telescope and its contributions to society. He says his administration supports the project’s right to proceed.

University of Hawaii spokesman Dan Meisenzahl says protesters were heading up the mountain Friday to remove stone altars that were placed in the road.

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