LIHUE — Several protesters held signs in a show of support for those protesting the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope on the Big Island at the intersection of Kapule Highway and Ahukini Road Friday morning.
The second organized protest on Kauai came amid U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s call for the withdrawal of an emergency proclamation by Gov. David Ige and to delay construction of the TMT until further discussions take place.
“We believe that sometimes the community needs to have something that they have had their whole lives and something that has been a part of the culture since day one,” Eman Zafirides said. “Changes like what they are going to do on the Big Island is going to mess up the flow of the culture that Hawaii lives with today and that they should live with for the rest of eternity.”
Zafirides said the more the community becomes aware of what is going on, the better.
“Then they’ll know who the real people are,” he said.
Zafirides was joined by his friend Tyler Schump, with Zafirides holding a boogie board with the words “Ku Kia‘i Mauna” spray-painted on it (meaning “guardians of the mountain” in Hawaiian), and Schump holding a surfboard with the words “Rise up.”
“They can’t ignore it once it becomes a common topic for everyone, once it becomes a true problem for everyone in the community,” Schump said.
Next to the two friends stood Stormy Sosa with her 2-year-old son in her arms, and Kenui Topp. They were there to show their support for Native Hawaiians and the protesters entrenched on Mauna Kea.
Even if one person who was unaware of what is going on at Mauna Kea saw this, they are now aware, Topp said, who was draped in a Hawaiian flag.
For Sosa, the big thing that is being created with the Mauna Kea situation is the Kapu Aloha movement.
“It’s not just about my son and his future. It’s about the future of his sons and his family,” Sosa said, who was there with her three friends and son to show their support.
The peaceful protest was one of three that took place on Kauai Friday, with a second in Hanapepe later in the afternoon.