Maui police arrested six people early today when they attempted to block a convoy of vehicles hauling equipment for the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope at Haleakala.
Dan Dennison, spokesman for the Department of Land and Natural Resources, said two women and four men were arrested at the roadblock at the intersection of Haleakala and Old Haleakala highways sometime between 3 a.m. and 3:30 a.m.
Of the six arrested, five have since been released and have scheduled court appearances for charges they face that include “disorderly conduct, obstructing a highway, failing to obey a police officer and/or resisting arrest,” Dennison said.
The sixth individual was transported to an emergency room before being booked. It’s unclear at this time why he was transported.
There was an initial report of five people arrested at the intersection.
Maui police said via email that they will release information on the arrests today.
Park officials had announced Crater Road and the park’s summit road was to be closed from 10 p.m. Tuesday to 2 p.m. today for the planned delivery of a four-meter mirror to the Haleakala summit.
From 6 p.m. Tuesday to midnight, more than 100 demonstrators gathered at the intersection. After midnight, there were approximately 60 people at the site.
Approximately a dozen demonstrators formed a human chain with PVC pipes and laid in the middle of the roadway. Police officers “gently lifted” the protesters to the shoulder of the highway. Dennison said. “They wanted to be sure they were out of harm’s way.”
More than 60 law enforcement of the Maui Police Department, the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement and National Park Service were present.
Before the convoy arrived, a half-dozen police vehicle led the convoy of four semi-trucks pulling wide-load trailers. Dennison said it reached the park entrance at 6 a.m. and Science City between 7:30 a.m. and 7:45 a.m.
Construction on the $340 million solar telescope — expected to be the world’s most powerful solar telescope — began in 2012 at the University of Hawaii’s Science City on the Haleakala summit.
Construction is slated to be completed in 2019.
In July 2015, 20 protesters were arrested at a Maui base yard as they attempted to block a shipment of telescope parts for the project. – Star Advertiser