Elderly Hawaiians arrested while protesting telescope construction on sacred land

Elderly Hawaiians arrested while protesting telescope construction on sacred land
© The Associated Press

Police arrested several elderly protesters, including some in wheelchairs, for attempting to block construction of a telescope on top of a volcano considered sacred by some Native Hawaiians.

The Associated Press reported that roughly 30 elders, called kupuna in Hawaiian, were arrested on Wednesday.

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Protest leader Kealoha Pisciotta told the AP that the kupuna were prepared to be arrested as part of their protest.

While some of the elderly demonstrators were walked to the police vans with their hands in zip ties, others using canes or wheelchairs needed assistance before being taken away.

The demonstrations started earlier this week as hundreds of indigenous Hawaiians protested the planned construction of a telescope on the dormant volcano of Mauna Kea.

Scientists chose the summit of Mauna Kea because of its vantage point, but legal battles and demonstrations delayed construction for years.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) last month brought the legal battle to an end when he gave the go-ahead to a construction company to start building the telescope, prompting this week's protests.