Action megastar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson joined a group of indigenous Hawaiians protesting against plans to build a telescope on the Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii.
“What I realized today … it’s bigger than the telescope,” Johnson told the media. “It’s humanity. It’s the culture, it’s our people, Polynesian people, who are willing to die here to protect this land … this very sacred land that they believe in so powerfully.”
Native Hawaiians consider the volcano to be sacred, ancestral land and they have been protesting the construction of the $1.4 billion telescope since last week.
Thirty protesters were arrested on the site last week but protests have continued despite the arrests.
“When things escalate to that emotional apex, that is a sign that something has to be done,” Johnson said of last week’s arrests. “To full charge ahead isn’t the way to do it.”
Johnson also addressed the claim that by joining the protest, he was standing against progress, science, and modernity.
“The whole idea about this is not about stopping progress. It’s not about stopping science. It’s about respecting a culture, and respecting people and doing things the right way,” the Hobbs and Shaw star said.
Still, a judge in Hilo refused to halt construction after a lawsuit was filed by Native Hawaiian and supporters. And Hawaiian Gov. David Ige delivered an emergency declaration limiting public access to the area to facilitate construction.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.