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Telescope protest inspires more Native Hawaiian activism

The ability of protesters to block construction of a giant telescope on Hawaii’s tallest mountain is inspiring efforts to stop other contentious projects across the state.

Since July, protesters have stalled construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. Leaders of fights against a wind farm and the redevelopment of a beach park say they are employing similar methods used at Mauna Kea.

Organizers of the movements say they are rooted in a philosophy of peace and nonviolence known in Hawaiian as kapu aloha.

This Oct. 30, 2019, photo shows flags adorning an encampment on the side of a highway where protesters are fighting against the construction of eight wind turbines in Kahuku, Hawaii. The ongoing protest by mostly Native Hawaiians stalling construction of a $1.4-billion telescope on the Big Island has inspired protests on Oahu, the state's most populous island, with efforts to block the turbines and to stop the redevelopment of a beach park. (AP PhotoJennifer Sinco Kelleher)

The movements share several traits. Like on the Big Island mountain, there are protest camps on Oahu featuring a large tent with food and supplies. They even have so-called universities offering lessons and workshops on subjects ranging from civil disobedience to pounding taro, a popular root vegetable in Hawaii.

This Oct. 30, 2019, photo shows wind turbines spinning near where protesters are fighting against the construction of eight other taller turbines in Kahuku, Hawaii. The ongoing protest by mostly Native Hawaiians stalling construction of a $1.4-billion telescope on the Big Island has inspired protests on Oahu, the state's most populous island, with efforts to block the turbines and to stop the redevelopment of a beach park. (AP PhotoJennifer Sinco Kelleher)

This Oct. 30, 2019, photo shows wind turbines spinning near where protesters are fighting against the construction of eight other taller turbines in Kahuku, Hawaii. The ongoing protest by mostly Native Hawaiians stalling construction of a $1.4-billion telescope on the Big Island has inspired protests on Oahu, the state's most populous island, with efforts to block the turbines and to stop the redevelopment of a beach park. (AP PhotoJennifer Sinco Kelleher)

This Oct. 30, 2019, photo shows an anti-turbine sign displayed at an encampment where protesters are fighting against the construction of eight wind turbines in Kahuku, Hawaii. The ongoing protest by mostly Native Hawaiians stalling construction of a $1.4-billion telescope on the Big Island has inspired protests on Oahu, the state's most populous island, with efforts to block the turbines and to stop the redevelopment of a beach park. (AP PhotoJennifer Sinco Kelleher)

In this Oct. 30, 2019, photo, Caleb Nawahine rests on a cot while watching a tablet at an encampment where protesters are fighting against the construction of eight wind turbines in Kahuku, Hawaii. The ongoing protest by mostly Native Hawaiians stalling construction of a $1.4-billion telescope on the Big Island has inspired protests on Oahu, the state's most populous island, with efforts to block the turbines and to stop the redevelopment of a beach park. (AP PhotoJennifer Sinco Kelleher)