Hawaii-born actor Jason Momoa joined the protesters at the base of the state's tallest mountain, Mauna Kea, on Wednesday. The Aquaman star was the latest celebrity to visit them, following Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's visit on July 24. Native Hawaiians have protested building the Thirty Meter Telescope on the mountain, which some consider sacred ground.
Momoa has supported the protesters on social media, but did not make it to the site until this week. He even choked up as he apologized for taking so long.
“I’m so very honored to be here ... to bring my children and all my ohana here,” Momoa said, reports Hawaii News Now. “There’s one thing that’s not gonna happen. That telescope’s not being built here."
Following the visit, Momoa shared several photo galleries from his day with the protesters. Momoa revealed in one caption that filmmaker Etienne Aurelius will be putting together footage from his trip.
"KAPU ALOHA. Finally with my people. So many things to come. We are United We are Mauna Kea Aloha nui j," Momoa wrote in the caption for one of the galleries.
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Momoa was not the only celebrity to voice support for the protesters. Singer Bruno Mars, who was also born in Hawaii, shared a photo of elders at the protests, adding, "I love you Hawaii, and I'm with you." Mars included the hashtag "protect mauna kea."
Protesters have been blocked construction of the telescope for more than two weeks, keeping astronomers from using the already existing telescopes there. Staff had to negotiate with protesters and law enforcement to get access to the telescopes as two major storms approach the Hawaiian islands.
“The truth is the mountain is their church. It would be like building on their church," Johnson told Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday's Tonight Show. “I wanted to go get my boots on the ground get a deeper dialog with them and then I realized something. This is so much bigger than the telescope being built, this is humanity, these are human beings who’s hearts are hurting.”
Protesters are trying to get the Thirty Meter Telescope officially moved to its "plan B" location, Spain's Canary Islands off the coast of Morocco. According to Hawaii News Now, Pedro Duque, Spain's minister of science, innovation and universities, said agencies there would support moving the telescope to the Canary Islands. However, TMT officials still want to build in Hawaii.
“The site in La Palma is an excellent place for astronomy. We have not had all the regulatory processes complete there and there’s no time frame for when so it is not viable in that sense at this time,” TMT executive Gordon Squires.
Meanwhile, University of Hawaii President David Lassner is still supporting TMT and refuses to resign, despite the overwhelmingly negative response.0comments
"I do not have any plans to resign. I’m sorry that that’s the reaction," he said. "I appreciate that people disagree with me on this issue. I will also say a lot of people support me on this issue."
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