The Latest: Telescope lawyers call petition meritless

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The Latest: Telescope lawyers call petition meritless
A police officer gestures at demonstrators blocking a road at the base of Hawaii's tallest mountain, Monday, July 15, 2019, in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, who are protesting the construction of a giant telescope on land that some Native Hawaiians consider sacred. (AP Photo/Caleb Jones)

MAUNA KEA, Hawaii (AP) — The Latest on efforts to resume construction of a giant telescope on a mountain some Native Hawaiians consider sacred (all times local):

1 p.m.

Attorneys for a $1.4 billion telescope project say a petition filed in court seeking to halt construction on Hawaii’s tallest mountain has no merit.

In seeking a temporary restraining order, opponents say the project must post a security bond equivalent to the construction contract cost before starting construction.

Thirty Meter Telescope attorney Doug Ing says the lawsuit is just another delay tactic.

Protesters continue to gather at the base of Mauna Kea on Tuesday, the day after officials closed the road to the summit in preparation for trucks to begin taking equipment to the top.

Opponents say the telescope will desecrate land that’s sacred to some Native Hawaiians.

About a dozen elders sat in chairs at the start of the road on Monday. Another eight attached themselves to each other over a grate in the road.

There have been no arrests so far.

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Midnight

Protesters vowed to continue demonstrating against the construction of a giant telescope on top of a mountain some Native Hawaiians consider sacred after they spent the day blocking the road to the project site.

About a dozen elders, or kupuna, sat in chairs at the start of the road on Monday, committed to being arrested if need be. Another eight shackled themselves to each other over a grate in the road.

They acted after state officials announced they would close the road to the summit of Mauna Kea so they could begin bringing equipment to the construction site in coming days.

The confrontation was a dramatic start to what could be weeks or more of protests pitting scientific discovery against cultural preservation and indigenous rights.

Authorities didn’t arrest anyone, saying their priority was installing concrete barriers along a nearby highway to create a buffer between speeding cars and the large numbers of people congregating in the area. No construction vehicles went up to the summit.

Hundreds of protesters remained at the scene and many promised to continue their fight.