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Utahns rally to clean up Salt Lake City, Capitol Building after protests

Cleaning crews were seen removing graffiti from the Utah State Capitol Sunday. (Photo: Garna Mejia, KSL)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — An effort to clean up Salt Lake City was already underway Sunday morning after a protest left graffiti and trash scattered through the downtown area. A cleaning crew was seen at the Capitol Building  cleaning off the paint left by some protesters Saturday afternoon.

The group gathered in face masks as they hosed down spray paint left on sidewalks and Capitol structures. 

 

Thousands of Utahns gathered Saturday to protest the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck. That officer was later arrested and charged with murder

Protesters gathered chanting, “I can’t breathe!” — which is what Floyd was caught on camera saying to the officer before he died — and some had set a police car on fire. 

After crowds dispersed, the city was left in need of a clean up. 

Many residents reached out to see if they could help clean up the remnants of the protest — but Gov. Gary Herbert said due to the “historic and delicate nature of the Capitol building,”the city called in professionals to deal with the paint.” 

 

Gov. Herbert also called on city residents to stay home unless deemed an essential person, until the safety can be ensured. After the protests were deemed violent by Utah government officials and leaders, Salt Lake City Erin Mendenhall issued a citywide curfew until Monday at 6 a.m.

 

Instead, Mayor Mendenhall is asking Utahns not to come help with cleaning efforts during the enforced curfew — she is asking residents to stay home and out of public places. 

Rather, Mendenhall said to be patrons of businesses — focusing on minority-owned businesses to show solidarity and support. 

Once the curfew is over early Monday, groups are already planning to rally together to clean up the rest of the city. A Facebook event titled, “Project SLC CLEAN-UP This City Matters” was organized Sunday in response to the protest. 

“The recent events that have happened last night disgust me,” event organizers wrote. “The infuriating demonstration of rioters, taggers and looters is disappointing!!!” 

The event is set to begin 11 a.m. Monday with volunteers meeting at the Capitol building. The group plans to pick up bottles and trash left behind, noting that professional crews are already working on the paint. 

The volunteer crew is asking volunteers to bring garbage bags, gloves, buckets, rags, masks — to prevent the spread of COVID-19 — or any other materials they can contribute. 

As of 1:30 p.m. Sunday, over 5 thousand people were interested in contributing to the project.