When we got to the Utah State Capitol on Wednesday afternoon, Jan. 20, shortly after the inauguration of President Joe Biden, it was eerily quiet. Having gone to a Black Lives Matter protest in June of 2020, I expected the Capitol to be packed.
This was different. There were no police officers forming a protective circle around the Capitol on the the grass with riot shields. This time, there were National Guard members holding guns at the doors of the Capitol.
There was a small group of protestors wearing Trump flags when we got there. Noticing that they were keeping to themselves and chatting, we took a walk around the Capitol. We were watched only by the members of the National Guard that were pacing back and forth across the sidewalks. No one tried to stop us as we made it into the center of the Capitol.
There were National Guard members posted at every corner of the Capitol — at nearly every entrance.
Shortly after we took our walk around the Capitol, another protestor showed up. He was covered head to toe, including a ski mask.
He shouted his opinions at the National Guard and the present media that it was the democrats that were going to get rid of our freedom.
“This isn’t about Trump anymore,” he declared multiple times. He said the democrats were attacking his freedom. He had moved from California to Utah in hopes to get away from the Democratic party — only for him to find that it had “ruined” Utah as well.
Other protestors that had been there longer felt more confidence in expressing their frustrations to the National Guard as well after this protestor showed up. They expressed their feelings on what they perceived to be an unfair election and their concerns for the future.
The protest was scheduled to start around 2:30 p.m. We got there at 12 p.m., and when things didn’t change after 2:30, we left around 3 p.m. People came and went during that time frame, but only three people were vocal in their protest. The most interesting thing to come out of this experience were pictures to show what the Utah State Capitol looked like after the 2021 presidential inauguration.