Salt Lake City police arrest 8 in protest of port project
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Eight people were arrested after protesters of the Utah Inland Port Authority clashed with authorities, police said.
Three people were cited and released Tuesday by Salt Lake City police, but five were taken to jail on suspicion of charges ranging from assault against a police officer and resisting arrest to trespassing and rioting, news organizations reported Tuesday.
Those charged included 30-year-old Elizabeth Chauca, 25-year-old Rosemarie Obrien, Kaden Fralick, 65-year-old George Zinn, and Hannah Zivolich.
Tuesday’s protest was organized by the advocacy group Protect our Community and joined by Utah Against Police Brutality, Civil Riot, ICE Free SLC, and others.
The demonstration started peacefully outside the Salt Lake City Hall, but it became chaotic when protesters entered the chamber of commerce building.
Police forced the group out, resulting in violent confrontations that included punches being thrown during clashes with police.
Officers and protesters had “bumps and bruises,” but no serious injuries were reported, Salt Lake City police said.
Several Utah officials condemned reports of violence at the protest.
Gov. Gary Herbert called the actions “borderline terrorism” on Wednesday. Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski said she supports citizens’ right to protest but denounced violent behavior.
The protest was the third related to the Utah Inland Port Authority. The first protest successfully shut down authority’s board meeting, while the protest last month resulted in clashes with police and one arrest, reports said.
Activists have raised concerns about the port project’s impact on air quality and wildlife. Protesters on Tuesday also railed against immigration policy, climate change and capitalism.
The inland port will aggravate air pollution, poison children, and exacerbate climate change, protester Mariella Mendoza said.
“It’s the system. It’s capitalism. It’s settler colonialism,” Mendoza said. “It’s the way we’ve been pitted against each other in this killer system.”
Republican Gov. Gary Herbert on Tuesday called the actions “borderline terrorism.”