Police & Fire

17 arrested in pro-Palestine rally at University of Utah

An officer assigned to the University of Utah’s Department of Public Safety received a minor injury while attempting to disperse the protest

SALT LAKE CITY — 17 people were arrested last night in a pro-Palestine rally at the University of Utah.

The rally began at 6 p.m. at Presidents Circle, and was planned by Mecha, a student group calling for the University of Utah to cut all ties with companies that may be profiting from the Israel-Hamas war.

According to a report from the Salt Lake Tribune, hundreds of protestors were in attendance at the rally.

According to a press release from the Salt Lake City Police Department, the SLCPD and other law enforcement agencies responded to the area on the evening of April 29 to help the University of Utah’s Department of Public Safety manage a “growing demonstration.”

According to the SLCPD, several protestors had set up tents, fortified those structures, and made statements about refusing to leave, despite the University of Utah’s no overnight camping policy.

At approximately 10:52 p.m. the University of Utah’s Department of Public Safety declared the assembly unlawful, and warned the remaining protestors that they would be subject to arrest if they did not disperse.

A video posted to the Mecha de U of U Instagram account showed several police officers in full riot gear attempting to clear the area.

“Several of the criminal actors threw water bottles, rocks, and metal cans at officers,” said a press release from the SLCPD. “Others had make-shift weapons. One officer assigned to the University of Utah’s Department of Public Safety received a minor injury.”

A SLCPD officer was also hit in the helmet with a water bottle thrown by a protestor, but was uninjured. No injuries to protestors were reported.

As of 11:45 p.m. 17 people had been arrested in the incident.

“Overnight, our officers faced a prolonged, difficult, and dangerous situation,” said Mike Brown, chief of the SLCPD. “I am very proud of the professionalism and dedication of our officers. Their training, experience, and capability of safely and effectively handling these cases is another example of our commitment to our community and overall public safety.”

According to a statement from the University of Utah’s Department of Public Safety, Officers removed and dismantled approximately a dozen tents, stashes of water bottles, food and toilet paper. After the protest was dispersed, the crowd moved west toward University Street and 1300 East.

“Utah college campuses around the state are not exempt from the significant unrest that currently exists in our country and world,” said Keith Squires, chief safety officer for the University of Utah. “Campuses serve as a stage and forum for not just students, but for members of the community who want their voice to be heard. We honor all voices, but the right to speech on our campus must occur within the confines of state law and campus policies.”

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