SLC PROTEST

Protestors March To State Capitol Armed With Guns

Aug 30, 2020, 11:56 PM

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A group of protestors marched to the Capitol to rally against police brutality and in favor of equality, but the difference in Sunday’s rally was that most of the protestors were armed with semi-automatic weapons.

Militia groups have showed up to protests with guns before, but this time, groups that normally don’t arm themselves, exercised their second amendment rights as well. They were also joined by an unlikely ally.  

“You’ve gotta be able to fire back if somebody’s firing at you,” said John Sullivan. “Do you want to die? I don’t want to die.”

John Sullivan is one of the organizers of the rally. He’s with the Black Fist Coalition and Insurgents USA — two groups in support of Black Lives Matter that don’t typically protest with guns.

“I bought this bullet proof vest. I bought this gun and I spent a thousand dollars on these armored plates,” he said. “You think I want to do that? That’s the question. No I don’t, but I did in self defense,”

Sunday afternoon, 30-40 people marched from Washington Square to the Capitol, dressed in tactical gear and armed with semi-automatic weapons.

They were exercising their second amendment rights, adding they were prepared to defend themselves if needed from militia groups who sometimes show up at their protests.

“I want to make sure I keep myself safe when I’m going out here protesting and also say, ‘hey, I can also express myself the same way that you can. I can speak your language. I can carry guns as well,'” said Sullivan.

Some militia members did show up.

“Any opportunity that we have to exercise our second amendment right, we will seize it,” Sullivan said.

But in a twist, they were on the same side.

“I just want to simply show that we can stand in unity with each other, regardless of our views,” said Tyson Holyoak.

Tyson Holyoak is with the Utah Constitutional Militia.

He said while the groups represented Sunday afternoon may have differing opinions, everyone should have a right to free speech and the right to bear arms. 

And while many would argue that more people carrying guns around downtown Salt Lake is escalating tensions, both sides said they weren’t looking for a fight.

“I would rather have peace over confrontation. I don’t want to see anybody die or get hurt,” said Holyoak.

In total, the protest lasted several hours, but there were no acts of violence and no one fired a weapon.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

SLC Protest

Rioters flipped and set a Salt Lake City Police car on fire during the riot in Downtown on May 30, ...
Dan Rascon, KSL TV

No jail time for man who set police car on fire during 2020 riots in SLC

A federal judge granted mercy to a man who set fire to a Salt Lake City police car during the 2020 riots in downtown. 
4 months ago
Rioters flipped and set a Salt Lake City Police car on fire during the riot in Downtown on May 30, ...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

SLC Police Chief Reflects On Downtown Riot Nearly One Year Later

Protests and riots broke out around the country a year ago following the death of George Floyd. That unrest later spread to Salt Lake City where a police car was flipped and lit on fire. Police Chief Mike Brown sat down with KSL-TV nearly a year later to reflect back on the day that changed the city and his department. 
12 months ago
Body camera footage obtained exclusively by KSL TV shows the moment a protester threw a rock at a S...
Alex Cabrero, KSL TV

Remembering A Summer Filled With Protests In Utah

In a year marked by the COVID-19 pandemic, a presidential election, and even a serious earthquake, one of the biggest stories here in Utah is what happened on a Saturday afternoon in May. A protest in downtown Salt Lake City turned violent, leaving us with images many never thought we'd see here.
1 year ago
Protesters and police officers line a street in downtown Salt Lake City Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Sh...
Matthew Jacobson, KSL TV

SLCPD Officer Who Pushed Elderly Man During Protest Will Not Be Charged

At the request of the victim, no criminal charges will be filed against an officer who was captured on video pushing an elderly man to the ground during a protest in Salt Lake City.
1 year ago
FILE: Salt Lake City County Building (Getty Images)...
Matt Rascon, KSL TV

SLC’s Commission On Racial Equity Holds First Weekly Meeting

Salt Lake City's newly-formed commission on racial equity met for the first time Wednesday.
2 years ago
...
Garna Mejia, KSL TV

Groups Supporting, Protesting Police March In Downton SLC On Same Night

Groups representing both sides of the issue surrounding police reform took to the streets and the Capitol in protest. 
2 years ago

Sponsored Articles

Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Make Money Online Easily...

4 Ways that You Can Make Money Online Easily in Just a Few Clicks

Here are 4 ways that you can make money online easily in no time at all! Some are as simple as just a few clicks away.
tips to winterize your home...
Bonneville Digital SLC

Tips to Winterize Your Home | The Top 5 Ways You Can Prepare for the Cold Utah Winter Ahead

Before the snow hits, here are the top 5 tips to winterize your home to prepare for the cold Utah winter this year.
Protestors March To State Capitol Armed With Guns