Giant Sundance crowd marches in broad rebuke of President Trump
Up to 7,000 people, hoping for ‘love, not hate,’ demonstrate in Park City
January 21, 2017
A giant crowd marched down Main Street on Saturday morning in a broad rebuke of the administration of President Trump, loudly but peacefully demonstrating in support of women's rights, human rights and a spectrum of other causes of the political left.
It was an extraordinary scene as the Women's March on Main mobilized at the top of Main Street, started to march down the street and eventually reached the flagpole lot on lower Swede Alley for a rally. There were numerous people from Park City and surrounding Summit County who joined a large contingent from outside the state in the city for the Sundance Film Festival.
With a Park City Police Department escort, the march briskly moved down from the Brew Pub lot toward the top of Main Street. A group of marchers led the people down the street and there were other pockets o
f demonstrators behind the main mass.
They chanted "love trumps hate" at some points and "love, not hate, makes America great" at other moments. Some of the people at the front of the march carried a large sign reading "Exist Resist Rise." The Women's March on Main was initially billed as a rally for the causes rather than a protest against the inauguration of Donald Trump as president the day before. But the marchers were clearly dismayed with the ascension of Trump to the nation's highest office. Some mocked him and there were moments of crassness as they advertised their disgust with the president. At least one woman was dressed in a vagina costume.
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The marchers descended Main Street as a light but steady snow fell. The march appeared to pick up supporters as it moved down the street watched by a heavy law enforcement presence. Rick Ryan, a Police Department captain, said the crowd was estimated to range from between 5,000 and 7,000. The police estimate put the attendance at a higher number than the 4,000 to 5,000 organizers anticipated. The Police Department itself had earlier envisioned between 2,000 and 3,000 people would attend. Ryan said there were no incidents and nobody staged a counterdemonstration, something that was initially a concern for law enforcement.
Speakers at the flagpole lot at the end of the march offered comments about women's rights and the rights of other groups. The speaker lineup was a mix of people from the Park City area, celebrities and activists. Teri Orr, a Park City not-for-profit executive, thanked Park City officials for assisting as part of her comments. Maya Levine, the mayor of the Youth City Council in Park City, told the crowd people cannot be complacent during the new administration.
"We have a voice, and we will be heard," Levine said.
The crowd cheered as the speakers talked of grievances with the Trump administration and pledged that the resistance would be ongoing. The rally filled the flagpole lot and spilled onto Swede Alley and Heber Avenue, just outside the busy main box office for Sundance. Many in the crowd sought higher vantage points to get a better view of the rally.
Some of the people from the Park City area in attendance outlined concerns that largely resembled the wider crowd. There were several current or past elected officials from Park City and Summit County in attendance.
Doug Clyde, a Democratic member of the Summit County Council, said in an interview he is worried about the erosion of rights during the Trump administration. He likened the concern about Trump's America to the segregation era.
"It's not only about women's rights, but it's about human rights," Clyde said, adding, "The threat today is more insidious than it was during Jim Crow."
The threat is "far less overt, every bit as hateful," he also said.
Cami Richardson, a Kamas resident who is a transgender woman, said the movement will continue. She said the crowd size was of particular significance since the march occurred during snowy weather.
"It doesn't end today. It's the start of something we have to follow through with," Richardson said.
Another person at the flagpole lot from the Park City area, Snyderville Basin resident Joanna Charnes, said the march was an important event to attend.
"I have tears in my eyes being around so many people inconveniencing themselves to be here," Charnes said.
The Women's March on Main was not affiliated with Sundance, but it was seen in recent weeks as one of the key happenings planned during the festival. There has been a series of demonstrations staged during Sundance over the years involving anti-war marchers, the Occupy Wall Street movement and animal-rights groups. The previous demonstrations typically topped out at a few dozen people or so. There appeared to be momentum as the Women's March on Main approached, however. The march on Saturday likely was the largest demonstration in Park City's modern era.