Dozens of protesters of all ages waved signs along Kula Highway Tuesday evening to voice their opposition toward building the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.
The massive telescope is being built on top of Haleakala, a site sacred to many Native Hawaiians.
The demonstration came as a convoy carrying equipment prepared to make its way up to the summit. The road leading up to Haleakala closed at 10 p.m. Tuesday and will remain closed until 2 p.m. Wednesday.
The protests started out peacefully with people waving signs and flags along Kula Highway around 6 p.m. Tuesday. At one point, the crowd of protesters grew to more than 100 people, according to DLNR officials. At one point, dozens of people protested by lying in the street and forming a human chain while singing and chanting in Hawaiian.
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Demonstrators said they are there because it’s important to protect what they consider a sacred site, but the DKIST project goes beyond that.
“Your antennas should be up because that powers that be will use what ever measures that they have to exploit the system,” said Kaleikoa Ka’eo, a protester, “and of course, generally, the first victims of the system are the Native Hawaiians”
Protesters said Tuesday evening’s demonstration is just one of many more to come.
“As long as it stands, we will continue to protest against its existence and we will continue to tell our kids and our grandkids that in 50 years that thing comes down, if not– sooner,” said protester Kahele Dukelow.
*Tracie Takatani contributed to this story.