Thousands Protest Trump’s Monument Reduction Plan in Utah –

Thousands Protest Trump’s Monument Reduction Plan in Utah


SALT LAKE CITY – Thousands of protesters fired by the President Donald Trump's expected announcement to reduce two national monuments in Utah gathered in Salt Lake City on Saturday, two days before his scheduled visit.

Crowds converged on the steps of the Utah State Capitol to denounce Trump's decision, many singing and holding posters with messages such as "Protect Wild Utah." Groups of Native Americans, some dressed as tribe, danced or formed drum circles.

Speakers addressing the crowd of protesters included a state legislator and a Navajo Nation official.

State Rep. Patrice Arent, a Democrat from Millcreek, accused Trump of coming to "cause destruction in a land he basically knows nothing about," the Salt Lake Tribune reported.

Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch vo wed said the president should see these monuments for himself.

"I want you to visit Bears Ears before taking any action," said Branch.

Approximately 5,000 people showed up at the rally, according to the Utah Highway Patrol. The demonstration remained relatively peaceful.

Trump is scheduled to visit the state on Monday, when he will announce a plan to downsize Bears Ears and Staircase-Escalante National Monuments by almost two-thirds. Those monuments were designated by former presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, respectively.

Trump's measure would be the first act of that kind by a president in half a century. Ecologists and tribal leaders have criticized the decision as illegal and an affront to Native Americans.

The leaked documents obtained by The Associated Press show that Trump plans to reduce the Bears Ears National Monument by almost 85 percent and reduce the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by almost half.

The plan would reduce the total amount of land in the protected state's red rock country under monument status from more than 3.2 million acres (5,000 square miles) to approximately 1.2 million acres (1,875 square miles).

Trump told Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch and other Utah officials that he will follow Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke's recommendation to reduce both memorials.


Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http: //www.sltrib .com

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material can not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed.

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