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Eight people arrested in protest against proposed inland port

Photo: Scott G Winterton, KSL

SALT LAKE CITY — Five protesters are in jail after the chaos of today’s protest against a proposed inland port. Another three were cited and released, police said.

According to Detective Greg Wilking, those in custody are likely to face charges related to rioting, assault, trespassing, and possibly criminal mischief. He said police support the right of people to protest peacefully, but described the inland port protest as crossing a line.

“It’s when people come in and disrupt office space and the course of business and then start destroying things, (that’s) where we have to introduce ourselves to the situation and protect lives, basically,” he said.

Wilking said both protesters and police suffered some minor injuries, but he didn’t think any of the injuries were more serious than cuts and bruises.

The protest began peacefully outside the Salt Lake City-County Building on Tuesday afternoon, but eventually, police said more than 100 protesters marched across the street and into the Chamber of Commerce building, blocking traffic in the process. From there, police said they made their way to the sixth floor, chanting and shouting.

The protest caused road closures in downtown Salt Lake City at 400 South from 300 East to State Street and 200 East from 300 South to 400 South as police monitored the area.

An inland port is a distribution hub meant to connect Salt Lake City and Utah to the rest of the country and even the world. It would be a place connecting shipping containers and goods with a customs office, seaports and more.

The protestors say the inland port will hurt lower-income minorities who live in the area as well as harm the environment.  Those who support it, including the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, say it would be a major economic boon to the state.