The Rock shows his support for Hawaiian protesters fighting new telescope on sacred volcano

A proposed telescope is set to be built on a volcano in Hawaii.

July 28, 2019, 11:47 AM

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is taking a public stand against the proposed construction of a telescope on a sacred volcano in Hawaii, and showing his support on social media.

The actor and activist visited the protest site on Hawaii's big island and met with protesters who are set up on the road that would block construction trucks from going to the proposed site.

The protesters see themselves as protectors of the volcano, Mauna Kea, and in a recent Instagram post, The Rock stressed the need for understanding and empathy.

PHOTO: Demonstrators block a road at the base of Hawaii's tallest mountain, July 15, 2019, in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, to protest the construction of a giant telescope on land that some Native Hawaiians consider sacred.
Demonstrators block a road at the base of Hawaii's tallest mountain, July 15, 2019, in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, to protest the construction of a giant telescope on land that some Native Hawaiians consider sacred.
Caleb Jones/AP

"Mauna Kea is very sacred land in Hawaii. It’s church for Native Hawaiians," Johnson wrote on an Instagram post in which he also shared a six-minute video showing his recent visit there.

"Hard to express how strong the mana and how heavy the heart was when I walked this sacred land with these people -- our people," Johnson wrote, referencing the Hawaiian word "mana" which means power and spiritual energy.

The former wrestling star-turned-actor grew up partially in Hawaii, and has ties to the island.

"This issue is much greater than a thirty meter telescope to be constructed on the Mauna. It’s humanity and compassion. It's respect for culture and approaching this with deep care and sensitivity," he wrote.

Johnson's Instagram video, posted Saturday, is the second such post he's shared on the issue.

PHOTO: A telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii's tallest mountain, July 14, 2019.
A telescope at the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii's tallest mountain, July 14, 2019.
Caleb Jones/AP, FILE

"This is not about stopping the progress of science. I’ll always be an advocate for science advancement, but not at the expense of human beings who are hurting. When we lead with empathy, we make progress thru [sic] humanity," he wrote in a post from Friday.

There have been dozens of arrests at recent protests over Mauna Kea, according to The Associated Press, but politicians are hoping to come to a peaceful solution.

Hawaiian Gov. David Ige visited the protest site on Tuesday, along with Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim, who has been leading the government's efforts on the issue.

"We both share the goal of achieving a resolution that is peaceful and satisfactory to as many as possible in the community," Ige said in a statement released after his visit.

"I support the vision he [Kim] has widely articulated for Maunakea as a beacon of hope and discovery for the world that brings us together rather than divides us. And we both understand that the issues underlying what is taking place today are far deeper than TMT [the Thirty Meter Telescope] or Maunakea. They are about righting the wrongs done to the Hawaiian people going back more than a century," Ige said.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events