Salt Lake City Mayor Lifts Weeklong Curfew As Protests Remain Peaceful
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall lifted the city’s weeklong 8 p.m. curfew Wednesday as protesters marched peacefully through the streets for the third day in a row.
“We didn’t want to have to put a curfew in place in the first place,” Mendenhall said. “I’m grateful at this point we’ve seen how respectful and peaceful the protesters have treated our city and our police department and the property and we encourage that.”
Just two days into Salt Lake City’s weeklong curfew and Mendenhall said it’s enough. Gatherings Monday and Tuesday in and around Washington Square were a far cry from the ugly turn the demonstration took on Saturday.
“Well, we’re only a block away. This could spill over, who knows?” said Leo Paulos, owner of Greek Souvlaki in Salt Lake City.
Paulos’ family restaurant has been in the neighborhood since 1972.
“We’ve never seen anything like what we’ve seen,” said Paulos, referring to the destroyed cars and looting that interrupted the peaceful chants. “I think around 6 o’clock we said let’s get out of here.”
On Saturday, Mendenhall issued a curfew lasting through Monday morning. But it came with some confusion for Paulos, who wasn’t sure what it meant for his business.
“We didn’t know if we could open or we couldn’t,” he said. So Greek Souvlaki remained closed Sunday and then returned to normal hours Monday when the mayor reinstated the curfew through the following week.
“She lifted it and that’s fantastic,” Paulos said.
Like so many others, he was glad to see things have calmed down since Saturday and was cautiously optimistic the remaining protests will stay on message.
“We don’t want to put that curfew back in place so I would ask everybody who wants to come out and participate in protests help us keep it peaceful. Keep your eyes and ears open,” Mendenhall said. “Let’s make sure that the dialogue that we need to have, that we want to have, can be had and it doesn’t have to be coopted by the violence and destruction we saw on Saturday.
“I would ask everyone who is feeling passionate right now and showing up to the peaceful protest to commit in your hearts, commit in your minds to engage in the long haul. Because fixing the systemic issue that we see is going to take much more than the dialogue that happens in a protest.”
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