- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 25, 2019

Hawaii Democrat Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is hoping to check in on the protests against building a powerful telescope on the scared Mauna Kea, she told The Washington Times.

The 2020 presidential contender also serves as an active member of the National Guard, and told The Times her plans to get back home depend on her training schedule for the August recess.

Ms. Gabbard, who is part Polynesian, said she is calling on Gov. David Ige, a member of her own party, to immediately withdraw his emergency declaration that authorized closing down parts of Mauna Kea where protestors had gathered to block construction vehicles.

She explained the situation between law enforcement and protestors concerned her.

“These are peaceful protectors. Native Hawaiian practitioners, visitors, people that are coming together centered around these calls for respect for our land and our culture and our spiritual practices,” she said.

Ms. Gabbard issued a statement earlier this week denouncing that plans were approved to build the Thirty Meter Telescope without addressing the concerns of Native Hawaiians.

Protests began earlier this month to push back on construction that was set to begin on July 15. The state and protestors have reached a stalemate after a judge refused to issue a restraining order that would halt the project, but more protestors continue to flock to the mountain.

Valerie Richardson contributed to this report.

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