AceShowbiz - Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson showed his support to Native Hawaiian activists by joining them peacefully protesting on Wednesday, July 24. The "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" actor met with Hawaiian elders as they were protesting at the base of Mauna Kea as a way to stop the construction of a giant telescope on Hawaii's tallest mountain.
Upon his arrival at the protest camp, The Rock was met with a warm welcome with Haka and Hula. The Rock, who is part Samoan and briefly attended high school on Oahu, exchanged nose to nose greetings called honi with protesters before going into a tent to meet elders.
He had a talk with Kaho'okahi Kanuha, a leader in the Thirty Meter Telescope opposition group. That was such as surprise appearance by The Rock as he didn't announce that day's visit on social media.
Of his visit, the "Fast & Furious" actor said to reporters, "I wanted to come here and see our people and stand with them and support them." He continued, "What I realized today, and obviously I've been following this for years now, is that it's bigger than a telescope. It's humanity. It's culture. It is the people of Polynesia who are willing to die here to protect this land. It’s not about stopping progress. It's about respecting a culture."
"When things escalate to that emotional apex, that is a sign that something has to be done," he said. "To full charge ahead isn't the way to do it."
The protesters started their protest on July 15, the day the construction of what so-called Thirty Meter Telescope was set to begin. Native Hawaiian activists and allies blocked the road so that the workers and equipment wouldn't be able to get to the construction site. It was reported that hundreds of more activists joined the protest, though more than 30 of them, most of them elderly Native Hawaiians, were arrested by law enforcement in the first few days of the protest.
Funded by a combination of private companies and public universities around the world, including institutions in California, Canada, Japan, India and China, the Thirty Meter Telescope project is said to give astronomers unprecedented insight into the universe.