This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Donald Trump protesters whose plans were dashed when the GOP scrapped a Salt Lake City debate may still get their chance Friday night, when the Republican favorite is expected to host a rally at the Infinity Event Center, 26 E. 600 South in Salt Lake City.
Ian Decker, an organizer with the University of Utah's Students for a Democratic Society chapter, said his group had planned to demonstrate even in the absence of a Trump appearance.
Now that Trump again appears valley-bound, "it's crunch time," Decker said.
As of Thursday evening, more than 700 people had committed via Facebook to attending the group's 6 p.m. gathering at Washington Square Park, 451 S. State Street. Decker said he hoped for a large contingent that would then walk about a block to the rally and be very loud, refusing to leave.
"If we get a lot of people out, we'll be much more confrontational," Decker said. "If we get 60 or 70 people out, we'll be a lot more standoffish."
Decker associated Trump and his supporters with racism and bigotry and hoped for "more Chicagos," referring to last week's Trump rally that was canceled because of security concerns. Other candidates have accused Trump of provoking such unrest at his events
"Our resolution is that he should be afraid to go to the city," Decker said.
Decker said the group doesn't encourage violence but that "we don't expect anyone who's getting punched to just be punched."
Salt Lake City police Detective Greg Wilking said his agency will have extra staffing for Friday's events which also include appearances from Ohio's Republican Gov. John Kasich and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont but "nothing special."
Of unrest at Trump rallies in other cities, Wilking said: "We understand that any of these kinds of situations could lead to something like that. We're ready all the time; doesn't matter what it is."
Utah Latino groups also altered their protest schedule and will meet at 5 p.m. in the northwest corner of Liberty Park, 600 East between 900 South and 1300 South, said organizer Tony Yapias. But they don't plan to attend the rally itself, he said.
"One thing we want to do is avoid any type of conflict," Yapias said. "... We want to be in an area where it's controlled and where families can come with their children."
Yapias, referring to Trump's 2015 comment that "Hispanics love me," said: "Our message is Utah Latinos don't love you."