The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

UI students, IC residents march in protest of police charges against protester arrests

Protesters marched through the streets of downtown IC, stopping in front of the building housing the Johnson County Attorney’s Office.
Protestors leave the Pentacrest during the Transgender Solidarity March in Iowa City on Friday, Dec. 8, 2023. The march began on the steps of the Old Capitol and circled around downtown Iowa City.

Nearly 100 University of Iowa students and Iowa City residents gathered on the Pentacrest to march through downtown on Friday evening in response to charges filed against nine people this year, six of whom participated in an Oct. 16 protest of Chloe Cole, a detransitioner. 

Six individuals were charged in November, almost a month after the protest, with disorderly conduct for obstructing the street and interference with official acts. According to the protest flyer, the residents were also protesting Senate File 538, which banned gender-affirming medical care for transgender youths and was signed into law in March. 

Standing on the steps of the Old Capitol Museum, protesters greeted each other with hugs and handshakes. They wore all black, ski masks, and face coverings. 

“We are here today to stand in solidarity with those people that were arrested and give a big, fat middle finger to the [University of Iowa Police Department],” a speaker said to the crowd. 

Protesters held up signs reading “Liberation for all requires resistance from all” and “Not Dead, Killed!” with a list of names written below. 

After roughly 30 minutes of peaceful protesting, they marched down Iowa Avenue through the heart of downtown Iowa City, chanting “drop those charges” and “no justice, no peace,” among other chants. 

The protesters continued to march downtown, blocking intersections and preventing roughly 15 cars from passing at the intersection of Burlington and Clinton.  

The crowd made stops at the Johnson County Courthouse and the Johnson County Attorney’s office at 500 S. Clinton St.

Johnson County Attorney Rachel Zimmermann Smith has received criticism from local LGBTQ+ activists for the charges against the six individuals. Participants in Friday’s protest marched to the office building housing her office and graffitied the exterior. 

The Daily Iowan reached out to Zimmermann Smith for comment but did not receive a response before publication. 

Outside of the building they chanted “Out of the closet, into the cell, Rachel Zimmermann go to hell,” and wrote “Drop the charges” in red spray paint on the front window. 

A UI police car continuously trailed the protesters through downtown Iowa City. 

Friday’s protest comes two months after the UI chapter of the young conservative organization, Young Americans for Freedom, invited Cole to the university on Oct. 16. Cole’s visit led to over 150 protesters standing outside of the Iowa Memorial Union and marching through the intersection. 

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About the Contributors
Roxy Ekberg
Roxy Ekberg, Politics Reporter
Roxy Ekberg is a first year at the University of Iowa. In the Honors Program, she is double majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in Spanish. Prior to her role as a politics reporter, she worked news reporter at the Daily Iowan and worked at her local newspaper The Wakefield Republican.
Shreya Reddy
Shreya Reddy, News Reporter
Shreya Reddy is a freshman at the University of Iowa. Coming from a small town in Kansas, Shreya is double majoring in English and Political Science on the Pre-Law track. Before coming to the Daily Iowan, she has written for her neighborhood magazine and her schools literary magazine as well as writing an investigative journalism piece.