Hawaii expands power to block telescope protesters

Photo: AP

Thousands of protesters joined a swelling effort to stop construction of a telescope they have long tried to keep off a mountain considered sacred to some Native Hawaiians, blocking a road to Hawaii's highest peak and prompting the arrest of a group of elderly demonstrators.

Hawaii Gov. David Ige signed an emergency proclamation Wednesday giving law enforcement agencies the power to close off areas and restrict access to Mauna Kea.

The governor says the state hadn't decided whether to remove protesters from the mountain, but the proclamation makes that an option.

Hawaii County Managing Director Wil Okabe said about 2,000 people packed the base of Mauna Kea after the arrests.

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