SALT LAKE CITY — Utah protesters changed their mood from angry to celebratory in a weekend demonstration that remained focused on the message of ending police violence and systematic racism.
Demonstrators in Salt Lake City danced Sunday and passed out doughnuts and Popsicles, saying the uplifting mood resonated with residents, The Salt Lake Tribune reports.
Demonstrator Rachelle Geary did not dismiss the value of recent protests expressing outrage or pain, and said police are to blame for instigating violence that has erupted at times.
But she believes the lighter tone also served a purpose.
“I definitely think that this one has a community feel to it, and I’ve seen so many walks of life and people come out of their homes to celebrate,” Geary said.
Organizers said they mapped out the march through affluent neighborhoods near the city's Sunnyside Park because they did not believe residents of those areas had witnessed previous demonstrations firsthand.
Marchers distributed Black Lives Matter posters and cheered when onlookers waved or gave thumbs-up.
Salt Lake City Councilman Dan Dugan spoke to demonstrators in front of his home.
"Salt Lake City does have a lot of work on its hands. We need your voice,” Dugan said.
Several marchers booed Dugan when he said city officials must work with police, but an organizer told the group Dugan was an ally who would enact systemic changes immediately if he had the power.
Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, who lives in the community where the march took place, announced last week that Salt Lake City police officers were legally justified in shooting and killing 22-year-old armed robbery suspect Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal as he fled May 23.
Gill's office would not file criminal charges against the two officers, he said.
The unrest t that followed the death resulted in protesters gathering in front of the district attorney's office July 9, spreading red paint on the road and streaking the building’s walkway and glass facade.
Police in riot equipment responded, pushing some protesters to the ground and hitting them with clubs.
There were four arrests and one police officer and at least two demonstrators were seriously injured.