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Hawaii Officials: $7.7M Spent To Police Telescope Protests

Ryan Finnerty/HPR

Officials say the state and counties in Hawaii have spent at least $7.7 million on law enforcement costs related to demonstrations opposing the Mauna Kea telescope.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday that the cost estimate includes previous county figures and new information released Wednesday by the Hawaii Attorney General’s office.

Protesters have blocked the road to the planned Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea since July because some Native Hawaiians believe the mountain summit is sacred.

The $7.7 million does not include figures from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, which has maintained officers at the site since demonstrations began.

The attorney general’s office says the state Public Safety Department spent $558,000 through Aug. 15, while $985,000 was spent on Hawaii National Guard personnel who assisted police.

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