Thousands protest downsizing national monuments as Trump visits Utah

Thousands protest downsizing national monuments as Trump visits Utah

Thousands of protesters gathered at the State Capitol Building on Saturday to rally against plans to downsize the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante monuments. Officials estimated anywhere between four and five thousand people at the rally.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance organized the rally, and with President Donald Trump’s visit to Utah today, protesters were in full force this weekend.

Carl Moore joined other Native Americans in singing and dancing. He, along with many other Native Americans, support the Bears Ears monument and don’t want it downsized.

“So when it comes to the Bears Ears, we stand behind that because Native Americans wanted it. It’s the first national monument that’s ever been wanted by Native Americans,” Moore said.

And his message to President Trump is clear.

“He’s definitely out of place in what he’s doing. He’s not listening to the Native voice,” Moore said.

Others at the rally may not share the same ancestry, but shared similar sentiments for protesting. Gene Fitzgerald joined the protest on Saturday.

His reasons for joining include, “Sensitivity (to) the Native American nations that consider these lands sacred and not open for development and exploitation,” he said.

Others raised environmental concerns.

“Really, there’s no reason to mine stuff out of there anymore. The future of America depends on (moving) toward renewable resources,” protester John McCool said.

President Trump has not made an official announcement on whether he will shrink the monuments, but even the idea of this change is too much for some.

“I have spent a significant amount of time in that area myself and it means the world to me,” protestor Anneliese Steel said.

The Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance plans to rally again today as the President visits the Beehive State today for the first time during his presidency. It’s expected that the President will announce his plans for the monuments during his visit.

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