Thousands protest Trump's Utah monument reduction plan

Published on December 04, 2017 at 08:03AM

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Thousands of protesters fired up by President Donald Trump’s expected announcement to shrink two national monuments in Utah rallied in Salt Lake City on Saturday, just two days ahead of his planned visit.

Crowds converged on the steps of the Utah State Capitol to denounce Trump’s decision, many chanting and holding signs with messages such as “Protect Wild Utah.” Native American groups, some in tribal dress, danced or formed drum circles.

Speakers who addressed the throngs of demonstrators included a state lawmaker and an official with the Navajo Nation.

State Rep. Patrice Arent, a Democrat from Millcreek, accused Trump of coming to “wreak destruction on a land he knows basically nothing about,” the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch vowed said the president should see these monuments for himself.

“I want him to visit Bears Ears before he takes any action,” Branch said.

Roughly 5,000 people showed up to the rally, according to the Utah Highway Patrol. The demonstration remained relatively peaceful.

Trump is scheduled to visit the state on Monday, when he will announce a plan to reduce the size of Bears Ears and Staircase-Escalante National Monuments by nearly two-thirds. Those monuments were designated by former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, respectively.