Protests and raucous crowds have become subtexts for Donald Trump’s political rallies, and the scenario in Salt Lake City was no different on Friday.
James and Tony Yapias, immigration representatives of the Latinos of Utah, organized one of several protests during Trump’s Utah visit. This group gathered at Liberty Park for a more family-centric event. The organizers took the time to discuss their concerns about Trump’s comments on immigration and gathered the children of the Latino community to the front of the crowd as they demanded an apology from Trump. As the event continued, James Yapias took the microphone and facilitated an open discussion where people from the community could discuss their individual concerns.
“The main issue that we have as the Latino community is Trump’s policies on immigration. … This creates a lot of fear in our community. Even today we have people calling because they want me to leave their country,” Tony Yapias said.
“I think they’ve brought the whole issue of Trump onto themselves,” Tony Yapias said of the GOP’s efforts to prevent Trump’s nomination. Yapias went on to denounce the candidates on the Republican side and endorse Hillary Clinton.
As the event ended, a number of participants moved down the street to where a second protest was taking place. The second protest was comprised of a largely student crowd, which pressed up to the doors of the rally venue. Exiting the venue, the few Trump supporters who came into the crowd were divided from the protesters by police in riot gear. A number of protesters on both sides, divided by a parked car, shouted back and forth at one another. Arguments turned to pushing and shoving before police dispersed the crowd.
As the crowd moved off the streets, a rotation of chants included “shut it down,” and “dump Trump.” The protesters continued on down the streets, marching and chanting before eventually passing out of the set of city blocks that had been closed off by police.
The Utah Presidential Caucus will be on March 22. The caucus voting will be open to absentee ballots and even online participation. With a small range of existing polling data for Utah, it will be hard to determine the expected winner among the Republican candidates, but for the time being it seems a close race.