Native Americans protest in downtown Salt Lake City

Posted at 9:25 PM, Jan 26, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-26 23:28:09-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- About 100 protesters, most of them Native Americans, gathered at City Creek Center for a protest on Saturday that caught police and mall security off-guard.

The demonstrators arrived tonight around 7 p.m. and began chanting and beating on drums for a cause that seems to have started in Canada and moved south.

The protesters were asked to leave City Creek Center by security guards as well as the Salt Lake City Police Department, and they complied. The protesters moved to the corner of 100 South and Main Street, where they continued their peaceful demonstration.

The protesters said they are participating in the Idle No More movement, which originated in Canada about three months ago.

Reo Ramirez was at the protest tonight, and he said he came to protect Native American resources and treaties.

“They’re trying to take our natural resources away, and they’re trying to take away our treaties,” he said. “Our treaties are here to protect our people, and they’re trying to get rid of reservations too, which will allow more people and more mining to come onto our reservations without our consent.”

The Idle No More movement was started in response to proposed changes to Canadian law that could affect the property rights of the aboriginal people there. The protest in Salt Lake City was made up mostly of members of Utah tribes, but those who attended said it was important for them to come out and show solidarity with their Canadian counterparts.

There is a Utah tie to the event, as protesters said the mining of tar sands in Utah threatens reservation rights.