‘Open season on all of us’: Organization for the disabled blocks State Street to protest health care bill

Ravell Call, Deseret News

Protesters opposed to a Senate GOP health care bill stand in the middle of State Street during a protest in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, June 27, 2017.

SALT LAKE CITY — Tensions mounted between protesters and motorists during a demonstration downtown in opposition to the Better Care Reconciliation Act, though no arrests were made and no citations issued.

About 150 people began protesting the health care bill outside the Wallace F. Bennett Federal Building about noon. Eventually, a few dozen of them spread out across the south crosswalk in the intersection of State Street and 100 South, unfurling two banners that together said “SENATOR HATCH DON’T KILL US” and stayed there for roughly 30 minutes chanting various slogans and criticisms, including “My Medicaid matters” and “Health care is a human right.”

The protest was organized by the Disabled Rights Action Committee, which released a statement Tuesday saying a letter they sent to Sen. Orrin Hatch’s office had not received a reply.

“Our letter apparently didn’t get his attention, so hopefully this will,” said Lopeti Penima’ani, chairman of the committee.

Despite the organization’s promise that protesters would block State Street “until we get a satisfactory response from Sen. Hatch or until we are arrested and/or forcibly removed,” the group dispersed without incident several minutes after police arrived to redirect traffic at the intersection.

“We didn’t have any arrests any major issues (at the) protest, just a little bit of…

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