Pro-Palestinian protesters flood Main Street during Sundance Film Festival
Protesters flocked to Park City’s Main Street Sunday, Jan. 21, to show support for Palestine.
Chanting “From the river to the sea” and waving flags and signs, a crowd of pro-Palestinian protesters gathered on Main Street shortly after noon Sunday to call for a ceasefire.
The protest comes amid the opening weekend of the Sundance Film Festival, when visitors from across the globe descend on Park City.
Ermiya Fanaeian, an organizer with Armed Queers Salt Lake City, said the festival was the impetus for the demonstration.
“We’re here today to demonstrate against much of the Zionist propaganda that is going to be showcased at Sundance and really just let the world… know that Utah has largely stood in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle,” she said.
Law enforcement estimated several hundred people joined the protest on Main Street Sunday afternoon. They were aware of the protest ahead of time. Police used buses to close the street, keeping it clear of vehicles as the crowd grew. SWAT teams, Utah Highway Patrol, and Park City fire and police officers were all present during the protest.
Jess, who shared only their first name, said they came to Park City for the demonstration from a small town in Utah.
“We’re just so against what’s going on,” they said. “There is no justification for genocide.”
They said Sundance is the right time to call for a ceasefire because of its high publicity.
As the crowd made its way from the Old Town Transit Center to Main Street, some bystanders called out to them in disagreement. Max Eisenberg was among them. He said he traveled from Denver to attend Sundance.
“We’re Jewish. We have cousins who were killed in the south of Israel in the terrorist attack by Hamas on Oct. 7,” he said. “We’ve long believed in a two-state solution with Palestinian freedom, but we are afraid and disturbed that these protests are celebrating terrorism, and that they’ve only come out with this fervor under the leadership of Hamas.”
As protesters stood chanting behind a wide “Ceasefire Now” banner, one Park City man stood waving an Israeli flag, shouting the names of hostages into a microphone.
Across the street, Salt Lake City resident Kouver Bingham stood wrapped in a keffiyeh and waving a Palestinian flag.
“It is not against Jewish people,” he said. “There’s 34,000 civilians that have been murdered in the last 107 days. This is worse than anything we saw in World War II or any other conflict in modern history.”
The protest was peaceful, and the crowd dispersed around 2:30 p.m.
The war between Israel and Hamas militants began over 100 days ago. Gaza’s Health Ministry says more than 25,000 Palestinians have been killed and close to 63,000 wounded since Oct. 7, according to the Associated Press. An estimated two-thirds of those killed in Gaza were women and children.
The Israeli military says 195 of its soldiers have been killed in the same period. Israel says about 130 hostages are still imprisoned by Hamas. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the offensive will continue until all hostages are returned and Hamas is destroyed.