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TMT protesters march to University of Hawaiʻi president's home

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Department of Land and Natural Resources
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HONOLULU — In the ongoing protest over a giant telescope planned for Maunakea on Hawaiʻi Island, a group marched to the University of Hawaiʻi's president's home.

Tuesday's march of about 70 protesters marked 2,400 days since heavy equipment first arrived on Maunakea in 2015, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported.

Protesters have blocked construction, saying the Thirty Meter Telescope will desecrate land held sacred to Native Hawaiians.

Healani Sonoda-Pale, one of the protest leaders, said they marched to David Lassner's Honolulu home because he has the power to stop the project.

The University of Hawaiʻi manages the Maunakea summit under a 65-year lease from the state that’s due to expire in 2033.

Telescope opponents say the university has not properly managed the land and has ignored Native Hawaiians' pleas to stop construction.

Protesters sang and chanted as they marched from Palolo Valley District Park to Lassner's home about a mile away.

When they arrived, Lassner stepped out into his driveway and listened. He acknowledged the group but did not speak to them, the newspaper reported.

The march also came as the university is accepting public input on a draft master plan for Maunakea, which reaffirms plans to decommission some observatories already on the mountain.

The existing master plan was adopted in the year 2000 and established the Maunakea Management Board and Kahu Kū Mauna community volunteer advisory groups.

“This plan is trying to be responsive to the many values and obligations that we as an institution have for managing public lands," Greg Chun, executive director of the Center for Maunakea Stewardship at UH Hilo, said in a prior release. "So everyone in the public has a legitimate interest in what happens to these lands and how these lands are utilized.”

You can review the draft plan and provide your input until Oct. 26 at the Maunakea Master Plan website at maunakea.konveio.com.

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