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Protesters meet Trump supporters in tense showdown outside Utah rally

First Published      Last Updated Jun 11 2016 05:04 pm

A throng of protesters, carrying signs and chanting against Donald Trump, marched down a blocked-off State Street toward a line of the presidential hopeful's supporters in Salt Lake City.

The two sides shouted at each other for about an hour outside the Infinity Event Center at 26 E. 600 South, where Trump held a rally Friday night. During the protest, two people allegedly tried to breach a barrier on the west side of the event center, but they didn't get in, said Salt Lake City police Detective Cody Lougy.

To his knowledge, no one was arrested.

The protesters eventually dispersed about 9 p.m. after an officer announced on a loudspeaker that Trump had left the building. Near the end of the protest, police asked the crowds to disperse while standing in front of the facility, some officers holding shields.




At a rally preceding their march to the event center, protesters at City Hall called Trump racist, sexist, homophobic and Islamophobic. Dennis Potter, representing the group Socialist Alternative, called Trump a failed capitalist and a reality TV star, which he's become again by running for the presidency.

Some of the protesters' criticisms were hurled during their beating of a Trump piñata near the end of the rally; the cardboard effigy swung through the air as it was incrementally destroyed. Among those who took a swing at it was Chrystle Baker, who compared Trump to Adolf Hitler — echoing Alyssa Ferris of the Anti-War Committee, who said at the rally that "we are facing Nazism again … and it is terrifying."

As the crowd gathered at City Hall, Sean Taylor of Students for a Democratic Society, who organized Friday's rally, said that they wanted a peaceful protest.

Outside the event center, amid a tense crowd, Trump supporter Brian Salinas said the candidate's not a racist. Salinas, the grandson of a Mexican immigrant, who supports the idea of bolstering the wall between the United States and Mexico, believes Trump "knows how to create jobs." The Army veteran believes Trump will help veterans get the benefits they need.

Jeffrey Moore, another Trump supporter, said he appreciates that the candidate speaks his mind, even if Moore doesn't agree with everything he says. He also likes that Trump is an outsider to Washington, D.C.

The protest outside the event center wasn't the only rally against Trump in Salt Lake City on Friday. At Liberty Park, Latino advocate Tony Yapias played a recording of a phone call he received Friday morning over a loudspeaker. In the call, a woman told him to "Get out of my country."

Yapias, the director of Proyecto Latino de Utah, said Trump's rhetoric is contributing to hatred against Latinos, so the advocate organized the rally against the front-runner Friday night. Yapias said the rally — attended by about 150 people, mostly of Hispanic descent — was about showing Trump that Latinos in Utah will not put up with his hate speech.

Tony's brother James Yapias called for Trump to apologize to "all of our children" for referring to Mexicans as rapists and criminals during the campaign.

Speaking in English and Spanish, participants took a microphone and shared their stories.

Some cried as they expressed fear that Trump's plan to deport all undocumented immigrants would separate families. An angry contingent of the crowd chanted "Get out, Trump!" in Spanish.

Ivan Caldera, of Salt Lake City said his son has experienced more bullying at school since the Trump campaign began.

"The kids are picking it up from their parents," Caldera said. Though Caldera is a lifelong Republican, he said he will vote for the Democrat this year.

mmcfall@sltrib.com

Twitter: @MikeyPanda

 

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