A jock strap made of fur: the answer to animal-rights activists
November 30, 2010
Peter Young, an animal-rights activist, figured a demonstration on Main Street on the day after Thanksgiving would unfold like others have, with some people ignoring the protesters, others supporting them and still others becoming annoyed.
But the Black Friday protest this year did not turn out that way. Young describes a fracas unfolding on Main Street after a man, said to be wearing a jock strap made out of fur and holding different views about fur sellers, reportedly engaged the demonstrators.
According to Young’s telling, 25 demonstrators were on Main Street in the middle of the afternoon last Friday holding signs and chanting slogans like "one, two, three, four, this is a fur war." It was standard fare for animal-rights protests, he said, indicating the demonstrators started outside of the Norsk Leather & Fur store for an hour and then moved to the Alaska Fur Gallery.
Once outside the second fur seller, problems started, Young said, recounting that "antagonists" walked by with opposing views to Young’s group. One of the men in opposition went into the store and then emerged wearing the fur jock strap, people who were there said.
Young said the man started dancing and taunting the protesters in what Young said was an attempt to provoke his group. He called the protesters derogatory names, Young said. The fracas unfolded after 15 minutes or so, he said. It involved the demonstrators, the man wearing the fur jock strap and four people the man was with, according to Young.
One of the demonstrators suffered a cut on a finger and another was pushed over a flower box, Young said. The confrontation lasted 10 seconds, he said. Police officers separated the demonstrators from the man in the jock strap and the people he was with, Young said.
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"You just had some people who wanted to fight and got a fight," he said about the other side.
The Park City Police Department on Friday received at least two complaints about the demonstrations, with one lodged at 3:05 p.m. from outside Alaska Fur Gallery another at 1:54 p.m. from outside Norsk Leather & Fur. Another complaint was filed with the police on Sunday, when a threat was reportedly made just after midnight to break store windows.
Animal-rights activists have occasionally targeted Main Street, and the holiday shopping season is one of the prime periods for the activists. Other demonstrations have been tense but have not led to a confrontation like the one Young described.
Young said his group, known as the Salt Lake Animal Advocacy Movement, is consulting an attorney before deciding whether to press charges in the case. He does not expect people with his group to be charged.
Marcus Hernandez, the owner of Alaska Fur Gallery, witnessed what occurred on Friday, saying the man wearing the fur jock strap did not act properly. Hernandez said the man became irritated with the protesters and purchased the jock strap for $35. He went into a bathroom at the store, put on the jock strap and then walked out of the store fully dressed, Hernandez said. The customer did not have ties to the store, Hernandez said.
"The store doesn’t condone that or that person. If we would have seen him do it, we would have stopped him," Hernandez said.