Main Street in Park City, Utah was shut down on Sunday as a march of around 100 pro-Palestine protesters including actresses Indya Moore and Melissa Barrera gathered at the Sundance Film Festival chanting “Free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea,” criticizing Israel and President Joe Biden.
“Scream” star Barrera, who was fired from “Scream VII” over social media posts that some deemed antisemitic (she’s at Sundance with new horror film “Your Monsters”), was seen in the crowd, standing back but chanting along with the protesters. And “Pose” star Moore joined as well, taking the microphone to call for a ceasefire and slam the bombing of Gaza in the wake of Hamas’s attack on Israeli civilians on October 7.
“The Palestinian children that have been murdered are not responsible for freeing the hostages right now,” Moore said, adding that the bombing is “not OK” in response to “200 hostages.”
#PoseFX and #Ponyboi star Indya Moore speaks out at Pro-Palestine protest at #Sundance
"Stop telling us to hate each other, the Palestinian children that have been murdered are not responsible for freeing the hostages" – #IndyaMoore
Read More: https://t.co/u0sNG62Y1X pic.twitter.com/8SAbQyYQBM
— TheWrap (@TheWrap) January 21, 2024
The group, which drew a large crowd of onlookers and counterprotesters, began with chants of “Free Palestine” and “From the river to the sea,” but also threw vitriol at Biden with chants of “Genocide Joe, what do you say? How many kids have you killed today?”
The pro-Palestine protesters also directed their attention to onlookers. “We have had enough of watching our tax dollars, of watching corporate America kill and blow little kids to bits,” a speaker said into a megaphone. “Shame on all of you standing here and being complicit.”
The protest was not affiliated with the Sundance Film Festival. TheWrap reached out to the festival for comment.
A small counterprotest arose as Main Street was shut down, with a man holding an Israeli flag and a megaphone reading off the list of those still being held captive by Hamas. Tensions ran high as one woman told the protesters, “This is antisemitism,” and was yelled down by a young man who responded, “No it’s not, you’re f–king wrong lady.”
Elsewhere at the festival, there was pushback to the protest.
“Anyone who knows the history of the Middle East is shaking their head in disbelief,” Israeli actress and activist Noa Tishby told TheWrap earlier on Sunday. “It breaks the heart to see the lack of education and brainwash that has permeated our society, including entertainment. There is a devastating lack of education.”
Tishby appeared on a Sundance panel on Sunday about Jewish depictions in entertainment. She continued, “What the left needs to understand — if change will come — is to call on the Palestinians themselves to have responsible leadership.”
The actress also called out the perceived irony of so many from the progressive movement supporting the pro-Palestine protest. “The best national achievement of Palestine in the last hundred years is the mass slaughter of Israelis. The biggest achievement isn’t a parliament or human rights for gays. There are armed queers of Salt Lake City protecting the Palestine protest. That is a bizarre twist of events.”
Tishby said bashing Israel became “cool virtue signaling” and “a rite of passage for progressivism.”
The protest began at the Main Street bus depot, which is where Barrera joined the group. The group then marched up Main Street. Signs read “Butcher Biden” and “More journalists killed in three months than in World War II.” At first, the street was still open, with police directing passersby to keep going. But soon, as the number of both protesters and counterprotesters swelled, most of the street was shut down. The police used free city buses to block traffic.
At one point, one of the protesters grabbed the mic and exclaimed, “We are here to say, ‘Shame — shame on all of you standing here and being complicit and sleepwalking. Yet again here we are going to far flung lands and destroying peoples’ homes and orphaning people. Shame!'”
A small group of young girls joined the pro-Israel contingent, which served as a counterpoint to the louder, larger group across the street. They shouted to free the 136 hostages still being held in Gaza. One older woman who joined with the group was bewildered, particularly when the pro-Palestinian group threatened President Biden’s election in the fall. “So they hate Trump but want to get rid of Biden?” she asked.
At one point the pro-Palestinian group took aim at the corporate supporters of the festival. She said: “Amazon, Chase, Audible are complicit.” Another protester, drawing parallels to World War II (particularly when it came to the number of journalists who have died), said, “Not a single building is intact. Dresden didn’t see this in three years of World War II.”
Protests have happened at Sundance before, with the Women’s March in 2017 occupying almost the same space on Main Street. While the protests and counterprotests certainly got heated, it was a mostly peaceful affair.
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