Eleven charged after anti-mask protesters take over school district board meeting

·2 min read
Anti-mask protesters took over a school board district meeting in Utah, shouting “no more masks”.  ( )
Anti-mask protesters took over a school board district meeting in Utah, shouting “no more masks”. ( )

Eleven anti-mask protesters are reportedly facing criminal charges after disrupting a Utah school board meeting in May.

In video of the 4 May incident in Salt Lake City, protesters could be seen grabbing the microphone following a public comment period during the Granite School District board meeting, which was broadcast online.

“This is wrong, you all know it,” one demonstrator shouts before crowds chant “no more masks! no more masks!” in opposition to the school district’s mandatory mask rules to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

After the board decided to adjourn the meeting, citing safety reasons, the protesters claimed they would hold their own vote to rescind the school district’s face mask policy.

“They came in and took the spots on the stand and held a mock meeting for several minutes before they left the building,” district spokesman Ben Horsley told the Salt Lake Tribune.

The district spokesman compared the incident to the 6 January insurrection that saw rioters storm the US Capitol building in an attack that left five people dead, according to the newspaper.

In a separate statement to Salt Lake City’s Fox affiliate, Mr Horsely said: “While there was a police presence at the meeting, the decision was made in advance to be non-confrontational unless the situation became violent.”

“Regardless, there are repercussions for these actions and the board was unable to conduct it’s business as a result of these disruptive criminal actions,” he said, adding: “The board and district encourage civil discourse as we model appropriate behavior for our children and students.”

Mr Horsely said in a statement that the South Salt Lake City Attorney filed charges against 11 individuals last week.

“Because many of the individuals were not associated with the district as patrons or residents, there was an extended amount of time needed to identify the perpetrators as part of this investigation,” he said.

In the wake of the incident, Mr Horlsey told The Tribune that the school district had received an “overwhelming number of emails” in support of the mask mandate.

The Independent has contacted the Granite School District and South Salt Lake City Attorney’s office for comment.

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