The fight continues as anti-Thirty Meter Telescope protesters disrupted an International Astronomical Union meeting held in Honolulu. The construction of the TMT continues, and so do the protests.
The protesters employed attention grabbing techniques by carrying some Hawaiian flags upside-down in an effort to show how serious they are with their cause. They arrived at the meeting determined to show their disappointment with the present situation. One banner said “TMT: No More Desecration,” with another aimed at the IAU: “we don’t want your big toy telescopes on our sacred mountain.”
During an interview, one Oahu resident Kau’I Onekea told reporters that the main issue isn’t about astronomy. Protesters aren’t against it at all. “We’re just trying to share our beliefs,” he explained.
Still another anti-TMT demonstrator, Lanakila Mangauil, said that astronomy, while “cool,” is not necessary, amid continued threats to our environment.”
Mauna Kea has, at the present, 13 astronomical observatories neatly ensconced on its apex. The TMT which will cost $1.5 billion is supposed to be the largest of its kind to be constructed on the mountain.
In a press release issued by an IAU official, they stated that they plan to sit down with the protesters, although in an unofficial capacity. They will listen to what the protesters have to say. “We’ve been speaking with (the demonstrators) and having very constructive conversations,” said Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii-Manoa director Gunther Hasinger