More than 4,000 people gathered near State Street and 300 W across from the Capitol to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
Crowd at the Utah State Capitol is estimated at 2,000+. At least 100 law enforcement officers and National Guard are monitoring the situation. pic.twitter.com/HnyyIm7ZXy
— Marc Sternfield (@msternfield) June 4, 2020
The protest began around 4 p.m. Thursday and quickly grew to thousands. Organizers of the protest say that this protest is a peaceful one. The gathering featured speeches about institutional racism and holding police accountable for their actions.
HAPPENING NOW: @UTHighwayPatrol estimates there are 2,000 protesters here at the Capitol.
So far, very peaceful.
— Erin Cox (@erincoxnews) June 4, 2020
The protest is sponsored by the Salt Lake Equal Rights Movement which was founded just six days ago on May 29.
Ammon Roberts, 19, is the founder of the organization and was surprised by the turnout.
The crowd is completely into the street. Only one woman I saw yelling at the cops at the Capitol. Everybody else ignoring them and focused on the demonstration and the speakers. @fox13 #utpol #SLC #Utah pic.twitter.com/ws8KXupTVs
— Ben Winslow (@BenWinslow) June 4, 2020
“I think it would be, you know, 40 to 50 people but obviously as soon as he put it out there and started promoting it, the support was there and we realized that everyone cares about what’s going on here,” Roberts said.
Across the street law enforcement stood watching over the protest. Utah Highway Patrol was also present to block off roads so protesters can gather safely.
“We’re absolutely members of our communities. We’re here to support their values, we’re here to support their rights and we feel this as well,” Col. Michael Rapich with Utah Highway Patrol said.
A crowd of 2,500 in absolute silence for peaceful protests. #GeorgeFloydProtests
— Erin Cox (@erincoxnews) June 5, 2020
The main focus according to one protester is gaining a connection with law enforcement and removing a “separation” between the two.
Protesters lied on the ground in silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to represent the amount of time a Minneapolis police officer had his knee on the neck of George Floyd. Protesters also kneeled in protest of police brutality and racial inequality. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson joined in on the protests, kneeling with fellow citizens.
— Sydney Glenn (@SydneyGlennTV) June 5, 2020