23 Jul 2019

Divided loyalties in Mauna Kea protests - academic

3:17 pm on 23 July 2019

A Hawaiian academic says local police are battling divided loyalties when dealing with the Mauna Kea protests.

Manua kea protest

Photo: Twitter/ @chrismichcon

Today is the eighth day protestors have occupied the site of a planned giant telescope atop Hawaii's highest mountain, which is considered sacred.

Dozens of protestors were arrested on Friday, as the governor warned police would have more freedom to move equipment up Mauna Kea.

But University of Hawaii associate professor Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua said many police are playing a reluctant role.

"For the law enforcement officers, they really have to do a lot of soul searching about why they're on the side that they're on and I know, many of them have expressed privately that they really don't want to be there, that they understand what side is the right side."

Noelani Goodyear-Kaopua said the Mauna Kea cause has also resonated across the Pacific.

Meanwhile, Hawaii's Lieutenant Governor Josh Green arrived on Mauna Kea on Tuesday morning to meet with protestors and law enforcement.

In a statement, he said over the weekend he saw and treated families at a hospital who were "beyond exhaustion" from their time on the mountain.

The observatories at the top of Hawaii's Mauna Kea mountain.

The shadow of Mauna Kea in Hawaii Photo: Wikimedia commons

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