HONOLULU   -      Officials in Hawaii said on Friday they will not call up additional national guard troops or use force on peaceful protesters blocking access to the state’s highest peak.

Friday was the fifth day of protests at Mauna Kea in response to closing the road to the summit so construction equipment for the Thirty Meter Telescope, a major new international astronomy project, can be taken up. No trucks have made the trip.

The Thirty Meter Telescope obtained permits to build after a decade-long review. Last year the Hawaii supreme court ruled the permits were obtained legally.

There have been protests in other parts of Hawaii, including on Maui and at the state capitol in Honolulu. Hawaii governor David Ige said his priority was to keep everyone in the community safe, including the activists. The 80 guard members who have been on the Big Island since the start of the protests will remain, state officials said.

“We will not be utilizing teargas, as some of the rumors have been [saying],” Ige said. “We are looking for the best way forward without hurting anyone.”

The governor said last week that national guard units would be used to transport personnel and equipment as well as to enforce road closures. Ige said on Friday no more troops would be called in to the Big Island, but stopped short of removing an emergency proclamation he enacted on Wednesday. The emergency order broadened state authority to remove protesters, including the use of national guard troops.

Big Island mayor Harry Kim, who met Ige on Friday morning as about 800 to 1,200 activists gathered on the mountain, said he hoped the protesters and state officials would take some time to discuss a better way forward.

“We all need to step back a little bit,” Kim said. “This is still our home, this is still our family. On both sides.”

Some notable politicians weighed in. Hawaii congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard followed fellow Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in supporting protesters. Gabbard said in a statement Ige should withdraw the emergency declaration and sit down with protesters.

“Trust must be earned – it is wrong that state leaders have approved the development of a new telescope on a new site on Mauna Kea, without first ensuring the timely removal of decommissioned facilities along with full restoration of those sites,” Gabbard said.

“This failure and a history of broken promises has resulted in the standoff that we are seeing today.”

Earlier in the day, Sanders said in a tweet since deleted: “We must guarantee native people’s right to self-determination and their right to protest. I stand with Native Hawaiians who are peacefully demonstrating to protect their sacred mountain of Mauna Kea.”

Sanders’ campaign did not immediately respond to an email asking why the tweet was deleted.

Protest leader Kaho’okahi Kanuha said protesters have been bracing for law enforcement to show up in force ever since Ige signed the emergency proclamation. That was the day officers arrested 34 protesters.

Lieutenant governor Josh Green said he planned to meet with people about the issue.

“I believe that this struggle is more about the heart of Hawaii and our sense of self and dignity, especially for the Hawaiian people, than it is about a telescope. It is about cultural recognition and people’s self worth,” he said in a Facebook post.