WATCH: Governor Herbert calls for civility after protest (Day after protest)
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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Utah Governor Gary Herbert issued a strong statement following an anti-inland port demonstration at the Salt Lake Chamber Tuesday.
The protest was heated and at times violent and destructive. Salt Lake City police arrested eight people. Five were booked into jail, and three were cited and released on charges ranging from inciting a riot, assault, criminal mischief, and trespassing.
The demonstration started outside the City and County Building before protestors marched to occupy the lobby of the Salt Lake Chamber. A “select few” of the protestors ransacked the reception area outside of Chamber CEO Derek Miller’s office. Miller serves as the chairman of the Inland Port Authority Board.
“That they would attack a private office and threaten professionals who are focused on serving the people of Utah is an affront to all of us. There was absolutely no reason for the protest to target the Chamber offices, other than a gross attempt at notoriety,” said Miller.
SLC police responded and the protest later spilled out into the street prompting officers to shut down roads in the area.
Tuesday evening, Gov. Herbert called on all public officials and candidates for Salt Lake City Mayor to condemn the protests. “This was not just a protest; this was borderline terrorism,” Hebert said in a statement.
“Anti-inland Port activists went way beyond the pale today when they stormed to Chamber of Commerce Building, attacked journalists, and terrified workers at the chamber.
This was more than just a protest; this was borderline terrorism. This was more than people just standing up for a cause they believe in; this was having no tolerance for a difference of a opinion. This was bullying, intimidation, and violence, and will not be tolerated. I call upon all elected officials, all people of good will and character, and all running for the office of Salt Lake City Mayor to condemn today’s protests in strongest terms.
I am grateful for the work of law enforcement officers who intervened in an effort to restore peace and order, and emphasize that while peaceful protest will always be welcome in Utah as a means of free speech, violent protests and rioting have no place in our society.”GOVERNOR GARY R. HERBERT
Salt Lake City Mayoral candidate Luz Escamilla denounced some of the protesters’ actions immediately following the demonstration.
“I understand the frustration surrounding this issue, thees are legitimate concerns being raised and I support people peacefully protesting for what they believe in. However, protesters cross the line when they ransacked those offices,” Escamilla said in a statement. “I’m thankful no one was hurt, but let me be clear: the destruction of property and physical intimidation is neither warranted nor is it constructive.”
Escamilla went on to say the day’s events showed the need for greater dialogue surrounding the Inland Port.