33 kupuna arrested for protesting on Mauna Kea
The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) says 33 kupuna were arrested Wednesday morning including long-time activist Walter Ritte, and cultural treasure Pualani Kanakaole Kanahele.
It was an emotional scene on the mountain, sometimes near silent while police arrested demonstrators blocking Mauna Kea access road.
Police gave them notice Wednesday morning, that they would be taken into custody if they did not move. Some willingly walked, but others were in wheelchairs and had to be pushed out. At least one man was lying on the ground and had to be lifted by police.
Despite being arrested, those on scene say it was peaceful, respectful and a dignified process.
For some officers, it was emotional -- they were seen hugging and crying. State officials say some officers are related to these kupuna.
"It's very honorary, at least they have respect for us to let us know we're getting arrested. But the point is, why are we getting arrested? To protect the mauna? Is that any crime?" said Maxine Kahaulelio, who was arrested.
After being arrested, kupuna had the option to either be cited and appear in court, or go to Hilo for processing and bail.