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Most Utah delegates avoid Philly protest

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PHILADELPHIA — While dozens of protesters blocked intersections around the downtown convention center, most of Utah's delegates were safely ensconced in the old but well-appointed Union League Club two blocks away, eating steak while listening to updates on Texas Gov. George Bush's well-oiled presidential campaign.

They seemed unconcerned and unwilling to be concerned over sit-ins, some of which dealt with claims of police brutality in the beating-arrest of an Afro-American several weeks ago in Philadelphia.

Meanwhile, several Utah delegates got right in the middle of the protests that struck around the downtown Pennsylvania Convention Center where various GOP-related events are being held but which is about five miles from the First Union Center where the actual convention is taking place.

Kayce Hofheins, a 1996 delegate who is with the Utah delegation this year as a guest, was in a car with friends when it was surrounded by protesters and Philadelphia police in riot gear.

"I've never seen so many police. They grabbed the demonstrators" who refused to get out of the small, one-way roads "and hustled them into paddy wagons. It was scary for a few moments." But no bystanders were harmed, she said.

One Utahn has the dubious distinction of being among the protesters.

Police in Philadelphia confirmed Wednesday that two members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), including one man from Utah, were arrested when trying to dump manure near the convention site to "send a message for presidential hopeful George W. Bush."

Sean Diener, 20, of Layton, and Bruce Friedrich, 30, of Norfolk, Va,. were cited for a health code violation and improper transportation means Saturday around 11 a.m. at the downtown intersection of City Line and Belmont, according a Philadelphia police report.

The two have a court date scheduled for Sept. 29.

Diener is the executive director and founder of Utah Animal Rights Coalition, the local arm of PETA.

He and Friedrich apparently wanted to send the message that "Meat Stinks" for animals and human health and should therefore be taxed, according to a statement released by PETA.

Friedrich told the Deseret News he and Diener piled 4 tons of manure from a Philadelphia stable into a dump truck they rented.