SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Hundreds of protesters crowded the Salt Lake Chamber building Tuesday to protest the environmental impact of the proposed Inland Port Authority project.
Protestors marched from the Salt Lake City and County Building to the Salt Lake Chamber. When arriving at the Chamber protestors entered the lobby before heading upstairs.
Eight people were arrested for rioting, assault, criminal mischief, and trespassing.
They left behind signs, trash, water bottles, posters and other debris after the Salt Lake City police shut the protest down.
Marissa Bomis with the Salt Lake Chamber told ABC4 News that the 6th floor of the building where the protesting occurred was on lockdown all day Wednesday.
“A group entered the building quickly– I again stress, a private place of business–yelling, screaming. Many of them wearing masks. Immediately beginning to destroy property and breaking the security cameras that were located in our lobby,” Derek Miller Salt Lake Chamber CEO and chairman of the Utah Inland Port Authority said during a press conference Wednesday.
Bomis said the staff and building members there during the protest are shaken up and taking a day to recover.
“I have to ask…what would you be thinking and what would you be feeling if you were at your private place of business and just such an attack happened?” Miller said.
Protesters damaged security cameras and office items; one protester even urinated in an employee’s office Boomis said.
During the press conference, Governor Herbert called for civility and thanked first responders for their quick actions during the protest.
“I understand people are passionate about the Inland Port… I know they are passionate about climate change; I know they are passionate about immigration and all of the other issues that were brought up yesterday, but passion does not excuse you becoming violent and breaking the law. “
Supporters of the Inland Port favor the project for its economic boom for imported and exported goods.
Protesters say they’re worried about the potential environmental impact of the inland port at the expense of the communities on Salt Lake City’s west side.
Salt Lake Mayor Biskupski said she supports the right of all citizens to peacefully assemble and protest the actions of the government.
“The community can, and certainly should be protesting what is happening, but we have to do this in a civil manner especially if we are going to be successful in our forever endeavor,” Biskupski said.
The mayor recently requested a preliminary injunction aimed to stop the port.