Hawaii Police arrest activists protesting at Mauna Kea

Hawaii Police arrest activists protesting at Mauna Kea

On Sunday, professional surfer and former Kauai mayoral candidate Dustin Barca was arrested by Hawaii Police Department while conducting peaceful demonstrations at the summit of Mauna Kea.

Barca who has also been a vocal opponent of GMO farming practices joined with a group of activists to protest against the $1.4 billion Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) in the Mauna Kea Conservation District on the Big Island of Hawaii.

He said, "We are not going to beat anyone with force. This is what we've got to do. We've got the solution. This is what we've got to do for aloha aina. This is what we've got to do for our future, our keiki".

The construction process for the telescope has already been approved by the University of Hawaii, which is responsible for managing the mountain. Many activists have been outspoken in their opposition to the project, which include actor Jason Momoa.

Momoa took the protest to Instagram and asked Hawaii-based celebrities such as Dwayne Johnson, Nicole Scherzinger and Kelly Slater to join protesters atop Mauna Kea.

The Hawaii Police Department and officers of the Department of Land and Natural Resources have arrested 31 out of about 300 protesters in the Mauna Kea Conservation District on the Big Island of Hawaii.

These are first arrests by the police although protesters disrupted the official groundbreaking ceremony in October.

Native Hawaiian protestors are concerned that if the construction begins before the courts reach resolution, it will cause irreparable harm to the environment and to Native Hawaiian ancestral graves and sacred places.

Prominent native Hawaiian leaders were meeting newly elected Governor David Ige, University of Hawaii officials and the county prosecutor to find a peaceful resolution before the protests.