Thousands Party at Lake to Protest Virus Restrictions

Deputies shut down illegal Halloween event opposed to virus restrictions
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 2, 2020 6:05 PM CST
Thousands Party at Lake to Protest Virus Restrictions
Special events workers who lost their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic march in July in Salt Lake City.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Sheriff's deputies called to help an unconscious woman Saturday night in Utah discovered thousands of people gathered at an unauthorized Halloween party advertised as a protest of pandemic restrictions. The woman had been hurt while crowd surfing at the event on a vacant stretch near Utah Lake, NBC reports. Officials estimated there were 3,000 to 10,000 partiers at the rave-like gathering. A stage was set up, and there were professional light and sound systems, as well as DJs, per KSL. Deputies shut the party down about 10pm. No one was arrested, but officials said they might still file charges against the party's organizers for hosting a mass gathering without a permit. There were several car accidents as the crowd tried to leave, officials said.

Two groups that argue against pandemic restrictions, the Tribe Utah and Utah Tonight, had planned Halloween parties. Both had advertised "The Protest on Halloween" on Instagram, saying the location would be revealed that day. But on Thursday, Utah Tonight announced that the party had been called off, saying people "in positions of power and authority, including the media, have done nothing but intimidate, harass, and seek to build consensus to shut this event down." On Sunday, Gov. Gary Herbert and the Utah County Health Department said big parties are a good way to spread the coronavirus. "The organizers of the Halloween Protest are encouraging the direct opposite of public health and medical guidance," the health department said. Virus cases are way up in Utah, as well as in the county. (More coronavirus stories.)

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