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.

National Guard protects Utah Capitol (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
National Guard protects Utah Capitol. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw

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.

National Guard walks paths at the Utah Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021 (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
National Guard walks paths at the Utah Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021 (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw

National Guard walks path around Utah Capital Jan. 20, 2021 (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
National Guard walks path around Utah Capitol Jan. 20, 2021 (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw
National Guard walks around Utah Capitol grounds shortly after President Biden's inauguration. (Sarah Earnshaw/The Signpost)
National Guard walks around Utah Capitol grounds shortly after President Biden's inauguration. (Sarah Earnshaw/The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw

There were National Guard members posted at every corner of the Capitol — at nearly every entrance.

National Guard looks out at Utah Valley while protecting Utah Capitol on Jan. 22, 2021. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
National Guard looks out at Utah Valley while protecting Utah Capitol on Jan. 22, 2021. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw
National Guard looking out at Salt Lake City while protecting Utah's Capitol. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
National Guard looking out at Salt Lake City while protecting Utah's Capitol. (Sarah Earnshaw / The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw
National Guard stands at Utah's Capitol steps bracing for rowdy protestors. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
National Guard stands at Utah's Capitol steps bracing for rowdy protestors. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw

Shortly after we took our walk around the Capitol, another protestor showed up. He was covered head to toe, including a ski mask.

Protestor standing at the steps of Utah's Capitol after inauguration of President Joe Biden. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
Protestor standing at the steps of Utah's Capitol after inauguration of President Joe Biden. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw
Protestor spray paints sign at Utah's Capitol on Jan. 22. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
Protestor spray paints sign at Utah's Capitol Jan. 20, 2021. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw
Protestor stands at foot of steps at Utah State Capitol (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
Protestor stands at foot of steps at Utah State Capitol. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw

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.

Lone protestor stands at the steps of Utah Capitol Jan. 20, 2021. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
Lone protestor stands at the steps of Utah Capitol Jan. 20, 2021. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw
Officer and Protestor speak at Utah's Capitol. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
Officer and protestor speak at Utah's Capitol Building. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw
National Guard stands atop Utah Capitol's steps. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
National Guard stands atop Utah Capitol's steps. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw

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.

Empty path at Utah Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
Empty path at Utah Capitol on Jan. 20, 2021. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw
National Guard stands at door of Utah's Capitol after President Joe Biden's inauguration. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
National Guard stands at door of Utah's Capitol after President Joe Biden's inauguration. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw

Flag reflects in window at Utah State Capital on Jan. 22. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
Flag reflects in window at Utah State Capital on Jan. 20, 2021. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw
National Guard protects front door of Utah Capital on Jan. 22. (Sarah Earnshaw/The Signpost)
National Guard protects front door of Utah Capital on Jan. 20, 2021. (Sarah Earnshaw/The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw
Protestor stands in front of Utah's Capitol holding flag with Confederate flag on one side and upside done American flag on the other side. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost)
Protestor stands in front of Utah's Capitol holding flag with Confederate flag on one side and upside down American flag on the other side. (Sarah Earnshaw/ The Signpost) Photo credit: Sarah Earnshaw

Share: [feather_share show="twitter, facebook, mail" hide="reddit, pinterest, linkedin, tumblr, mail"]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.