At several points since the anti-TMT demonstration began, it appeared that the state was preparing to break up the crowd. But each time, police withdrew, leaving protesters to remain in place for another day.
More than a week in to the demonstration, state authorities do not appear to be in a rush to disperse the crowd. That is backed up by comments from Hawaii Governor David Ige, who said on Friday that he is committed to finding a peaceful solution and not escalating the situation.
But protesters have all said they will stay as long as it takes to achieve their goal of stopping TMT construction. To do so has required finding a way to keep 1,000 people fed and healthy in a place without access to developed infrastructure like running water, electricity, and bathroom facilities.
Walk through the sanctuary camp Pu’uhonua Huluhulu and you will see fresh food being prepared, medics distributing water and sunscreen, and even posted instructions for limiting the use of portable toilets.
There is also a home grown ride share system for getting people to and from the mountain. “Kanaka Uber” as it has been playfully dubbed, coordinates rides between the protest site and various points on Hawaii Island, including airports.
Most of the supplies have been donated by local businesses and members of the community. Several restaurants have sent not just foodstuffs, but also staff and equipment to prepare fresh meals. Fried chicken, breakfast tacos, and fresh produce have all been featured on the menu, in addition to a large stockpile of non-perishables.
Perhaps most importantly, sanitation needs are also being met. Half a dozen portable toilets and the required cleaning service have also been donated by two local providers.
Protesters have said from the beginning that they would stay as in place as long as it takes to achieve their goal of stopping TMT construction. Their ability to quickly construct an effective re-supply operation makes it appear that they have not just the intent, but also the material support, to do so.