Protester: "We have a right to worship god in the environment of our belief". Opponents to the $2 billion project, who are largely Native Hawaiian, have been fighting the telescope because they use this land for prayer and ceremony.
Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed an emergency proclamation Wednesday giving law enforcement agencies the power to close off areas and restrict access to Mauna Kea. "We chose to gather here as of last night to come here and stand for Mauna Kea".
Hawaii's governor David Ige announced last week that he would be utilizing the National Guard for transportation and to enforce road closures, but that they would be unarmed and not used for law enforcement during the protests, NBC reports.
Police in riot gear temporarily lined the road to the top of the Big Island mountain, which is valued by astronomers for its consistently clear weather and minimal light pollution and the site for the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope, expected to be one of the world's most advanced. She said she was arrested for obstruction of a government road but later returned to the blockade.
Protester Walter Ritte says he was driven down the mountain, given a citation and released.
The elders were among about 2,000 people blocking the road to the summit of Mauna Kea in an attempt to stop construction material and workers from reaching the top. The decision attracted hundreds of protesters to the site, who formed their own road blocks.
But the issue of access is complex, with some astronomers siding with the protestors, and some Native Hawaiians approving of the telescope project.
Over a dozen Anchorage Hawaiians gathered at the corner of Northern Lights and the Seward Highway in solidarity with activists on the Big Island protesting the construction of a new telescope on Mauna Kea.
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"Our science time is precious, but in this case, our priority is just to make sure all of our staff is safe", Dempsey said.
After the arrests, most of the protesters have been allowed to stay, and many were camping out at night on public land.
People also took to the streets Wednesday throughout the Hawaiian islands, including outside the State Capitol and on Maui, to peacefully protest the project.
Local media say the demonstrations began on Monday, as the work was to resume after being suspended for about four years.
Mauna Kea, the highest peak in Hawaii at almost 14,000 feet, was chosen as the site for the telescope in 2009 because of its elevation and lack of light pollution.
Supporters of the telescope, however, say it will not only make important scientific discoveries but bring educational and economic opportunities to Hawaii. Last year, the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that telescope officials had legally obtained a permit, clearing the way for construction to begin.
In seeking a temporary restraining order, opponents say the project must post a security bond equivalent to the construction contract cost before starting construction.
Doug Ing, an attorney for the Thirty Meter Telescope, said the latest lawsuit has no merit and is another delay tactic. It would be built by an global partnership called the TMT worldwide Observatory, led by the University of California and the California Institute of Technology but also including Japan, China, India and Canada.