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Utah Highway Patrol trooper arrest three protesters at an Inland Port meeting on Oct. 17, 2019, at the Utah State Capitol.
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3 Arrested As Demonstrators Attempt To Disrupt Latest Inland Port Meeting

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — As dark clouds loomed over the Utah State Capitol Thursday afternoon, preparations were already well underway inside for a storm.

A large number of Utah Highway Patrol troopers took position to ensure the latest meeting of the Inland Port Authority Board went down without incident. When the meeting ended hours later, the troopers had made three arrests as demonstrators peacefully attempted to disrupt the proceedings with whistles and other loud noises.

UHP Sgt. Nick Street said two of the three arrests on suspicion of disorderly conduct ended in trips to jail.

One of those individuals also was booked on suspicion of resisting arrest, Street said.

Between the disruptions, opponents of the Inland Port during public comment continued to raise concerns about environmental and health impacts as well as over the lack of public input and who was profiting.

Numerous people attended while holding signs that read, “Stop the Polluting Port.”

“Look at that — it’s a room full of people who hate this idea,” said Deeda Seed of the Center for Biological Diversity. “Why do we hate it? Because we’re really worried about the harm it’s going to do to our community.”

Tempers flared at times during the lengthy public comment period.

“It was a charade, it was a charade!” one man fumed as he directed his hostility at a member of the board over the public’s lack of a say on the matter. “And you! You are one of the main people that I saw there with your smug little posturing!”

One woman attempted to draw race into the discussion.

“The prison is tied to the Inland Port, and what do those things have in common? Poor black and brown communities,” the woman said. “I see a whole bunch of white-faced liars here, so there is no integrity that we have here.”

The board also received a  report from its executive director, Jack Hedge.

“I’m excited and energized every morning to see what we can get done,” Hedge told the body.

Other than the three arrests, intermittent whistling and occasional outbursts, the meeting continued to its conclusion peacefully.

Street said troopers simply hoped to keep the peace while allowing voices from the community to be heard.