Sundance Film Festival 2024: Pro-Palestinian protest closes Main Street

About 150 to 200 pro-Palestinian protesters gathered in this mountain ski village on Sunday, shutting down a normally busy main street during the fourth day of the Sundance Film Festival, the independent film world’s main event of the year.

Among the attendees were talents from films premiering at this year’s festival, including former «Pose» star India Moore, here with «Ponyboi»; «Scream’s» Melissa Barrera, here with «Your Monster»; and Simone Kirby and Jessica Reynolds, cast in «Kneecap,» about an Irish-speaking rap trio.

«We’re not protesting Sundance,» said the event’s first speaker, speaking into a microphone-amplified bullhorn. «We protest the complicity of the mainstream media and their inability to report this genocide.» The speaker also asked filmmakers and artists present at the festival, «Why are you silent?»

They hold signs reading «Cease fire now» and «Hospitals are not a target» and chant «Free, free Palestine. The occupation is a crime,» protesters gathered behind metal barricades near the festival’s Filmmaker Lodge, attempting to draw the entertainment industry’s attention to the plight of civilians in Gaza as the war between Israel and Hamas continues, which began with the October 7 terror attacks. now the 107th day. The number of Palestinian casualties since the start of the war has exceeded 25,000, the Gaza Health Ministry said on Sunday. The October 7 airstrikes killed an estimated 1,200 Israelis, and an estimated 130 of the 250 hostages taken during the attacks remain in Gaza, Israel said.

A handful of counter-protesters responded, including a man with an Israeli flag and a microphone who read aloud the names of the hostages and others who chanted «Bring them home.»

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Both the Sundance Institute, which hosts the annual festival, and the Park City Police Department gave advance warning of the event, which began around noon local time. Officers from the Utah Highway Patrol were also on the scene.

«The goal of the Park City Police Department is to provide health, safety and welfare and to protect the First Amendment rights of all individuals,» said an email sent to partners of the Sundance Film Festival on Saturday, warning of supply disruptions and further delays. (The Los Angeles Times is a media sponsor of the festival.) «Law enforcement agencies are prepared to temporarily close portions of Main Street as events warrant to ensure public safety.»

Later, protesters moved up and down Main Street behind barricades, continuing to chant messages of support for the Palestinians and criticism of figures in American media and politics, including the line «This November we will remember.»

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