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Hundreds of Women March in Sioux Falls to Demand Restoration of Their Equal Citizenship

A whole lot of South Dakota ladies and some of their gentleman friends marched up and down Phillips Avenue in Sioux Falls yesterday evening telling the Alito Court and the State of South Dakota to keep their filthy paws off their bodies. KELO-TV says it was 200 to 300 people*; my correspondent tells me the march, with participants filling both sides of the street and stretching back at times as much as three blocks, may have drawn closer to 1,000:

Phillips Avenue abortion rights protest, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2022.06.29.
Sioux Falls women taking it to the street: Phillips Avenue abortion rights protest, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2022.06.29.
Phillips Avenue abortion rights protest, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2022.06.29.
“Stop the misogyny”—Phillips Avenue abortion rights protest, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2022.06.29.
Phillips Avenue abortion rights protest, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2022.06.29.
This Fourth of July could be an uncomfortable holiday for the millions of patriotic Americans who just had their status as equal citizens revoked. Phillips Avenue abortion rights protest, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2022.06.29.
Phillips Avenue abortion rights protest, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2022.06.29.
“I wish my uterus shot bullets go the government wouldn’t regulate it”—Phillips Avenue abortion rights protest, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2022.06.29.
Phillips Avenue abortion rights protest, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2022.06.29.
An eyewitness said protestors filled the sidewalk on both sides of Phillips Avenue and stretched as far as three blocks. Phillips Avenue abortion rights protest, Sioux Falls, South Dakota, 2022.06.29.

Sioux Falls police kindly blocked traffic at 10th and Phillips so the protestors could march peacefully and safely up from Lyon Park. When protestors finished their march and returned to Lyon Park, some remained to occupy the street. The Argus Leader reports that around 8:20 p.m., police with riot gear and smoke bombs pushed protestors off the street.

The protest was organized by word of mouth. Organizers did not post a Facebook event or any other traditional publicity. KELO-TV posts this sample message that organizers used to invite people to march peacefully and silently for their rights and encouraged them to wear red as in the red uniforms of the misogynist dystopia of The Handmaid’s Tale:

Silent Protest on Wednesday June 29th @7pm

We are gathering at Lyon’s Park (14th and Phillips) at 7pm this Wednesday and then silently marching down Phillips Ave. Please no chanting and wear red. Can be red tshirt and jeans or the full handmaid look, whatever red you have and/or are comfortable with.

This is for all uterus or previous uterus owners and supporters.

There will not be a public social media event and is by word of mouth only. This is being done without a permit. We refuse to ask the government that just stripped us of our body autonomy to give us a permit to protest them and exercise our First Amendment. A potential detainment and disrupting the peace violation is expected but unlikely.

This will be a chant free, violent free, PEACEFUL March. If the authorities do show up and ask us to move off the middle of the street, please move silently to the sidewalks, but the street is where we are starting and plan to stay if unchallenged.

We want to join together as a sea of red and show them that after all of the years of being told we should be smaller and quieter, that our silence can be deafening.

Feel free to invite any current or previous uterus owners as long as its not by social media and you tell them the same. Signs are allowed but not needed

For basic safety reasons, remember not to wear contacts if you can, cover tattoos if possible, and comfortable running shoes [protest organizers’ message, posted by KELO-TV, 2022.06.29].

KELO-TV tried to hype the “tensions” between protestors and police after the main march, but police made only a couple arrests of unruly characters. The march itself went off smoothly, with SFPD facilitating a safe and impressive march.

Justice Alito and Governor Noem may have unleashed a red wave, but not one they expected.

*Update 11:39 CDT: KELO-TV is now saying more than 1,100 people participated in the downtown protest.


  1. Guy 2022-06-30 09:03

    Impressive turnout!

  2. All Mammal 2022-06-30 10:45

    I suspect law enforcement’s secret use of the unconstitutional Sting Ray is how they became aware of the march. Actually, of course that’s what they did.

    I like the silent aspect of their march. I’m with you, Sisters.

  3. 96Tears 2022-06-30 11:56

    Indeed, Guy! Several friends and family and my spouse drove to Sioux Falls to participate. From what they told me, the event was as turbulent as a Lutheran church basement potluck. They didn’t know who organized it as all got an email from “a friend.” If that’s all the prompting it took to generate 1,000 people on a Wednesday night with the temperature at 95 degrees, that’s amazing.

    My spouse said the police officers along the way were very polite and impressive as protesters stayed on the sidewalks heading north on Phillips, starting at 14th Street. And then one of the officers pulled up his vehicle in the area of the Phillips Diner (Phillips and 10th) about a half-hour later and ordered the crowd to remain on the sidewalk.

    This changed the quiet tone of the gathering because nobody was in the street. They were still all on the sidewalk.

    It compelled the protesters to gather in the street and sit down in defiance. Think of it as a mansplaining moment. It also amped up the emotions of the decision by the U.S. Junta of Five to remove reproductive rights from 50.8 percent of all Americans. Many from the crowd decided to use the street instead of the sidewalk to return to the park, heading south on Phillips Avenue. They also changed what was supposed to be a “silent march” into a chanting protest, including a chant repeating “F**k Kristi Noem! F**k Kristi Noem!”

    This leg of the event lasted another 20 minutes with the police officers holding back traffic until the crowd walked back Lyon’s Park. My spouse said it seemed all but a handful of the protesters left the downtown area and went home. Unfortunately, those who got the attention of the TV coverage were the stragglers and some goofballs from the neighborhood near the downtown district. When my spouse drove back home and turned on the TV about an hour later and saw police in riot gear, she was shocked. “Just watch. That’s what will make the news and not what actually happened and why we were there.”

    Even stranger were the reporters for KELO and KSFY chasing around Phillips Avenue to check out reports of protesters engaging cops long after the protesters left the scene. The only people the reporters filmed in their pursuits of rumors were people sitting outside bars and restaurants for an evening cocktail. Silly. From what I saw on TV at the showdown on 14th Street in front of the line of officers in riot gear, there might have been two protesters for every heavily equipped officer. A nothingburger.

    We were pleased with the news conference of Sioux Falls Police Chief Jon Thum, who explained the complications of policing an event that had no permit for the number of people who showed up. My guess is that those who “organized” it had no idea it would turn out 1,000 people on a very hot summer night. Next time, whoever you are, please get a permit and stick to the rules. It only takes a few hotheads to ruin an otherwise peaceful and meaningful event.

  4. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-30 14:33

    Interesting observation, 96: it makes one wonder if the cop who pulled up and shouted at the folks on the sidewalk to remain on the sidewalk was acting on his own volition, without coordinating with his superiors.

    And yeah, how do a thousand people walk past the studios of South Dakota’s two biggest TV stations and not get on live TV, but the TV stations only cut to live coverage when the stragglers after the big show are provoked into noisier protest?

  5. Jake 2022-06-30 15:26

    Cory, your scenario of that cop is probably right on the beam. Goading the quiet, peaceful quietly walking crowd into some illegal activity is one method of ‘control’ in SD. Or, in order to ‘create’ an incident needing police action. “To Protect and Serve” is a mighty fine motto, but kinda like a dog who just can’t quit chasing cars, some cops let the badge ‘go to their head.’

  6. 96Tears 2022-06-30 18:32

    Jake and Cory – One of the reporters last night (I think KSFY) said that the march was quiet and orderly until an officer issued a warning at the block of the diner and then called soon afterward for backup. Was that the same cop? Who knows? It’s reasonable to assume that the backup may have been called to hold back traffic when the protesters changed tactics and cluttered up Phillips Avenue on their return to Lyon’s Park. It was after most of the crowd had finished the march and went home that any word of riot gear and a smoke bomb or tear gas was heard. I can understand why the police were erring on the side of caution, considering the march didn’t have a permit, there was word circulating widely that Alito Court supporters were nearby (although never identified) and Sioux Falls had had the experience with stragglers after the BLM march a couple years ago at the Empire Mall.

    Still, I’d like to know which officer made the provoking statement in front of the diner and who gave the order (and when and why) for the riot gear. It was over the top to do so after much of the crowd had dispersed.

  7. Bob Newland 2022-06-30 20:26

    What I hear about the Sioux Falls demonstration incident are perplexing.

    All-in-all, it seems as if things turned out okay. But it sounds like it created a sour taste all around.

    The mere fact that women are not granted the dominion over themselves that is an assumed possession of men will lead to ever more, uh, …sprightly, demonstrations is a promise.

  8. Arlo Blundt 2022-06-30 20:48

    Well…Bob, that any sort of demonstration occurred in Sioux Falls is remarkable. As a city, it is fat and satisfied, as Middle West, Middle Class as it comes. I’m very pleased that women and their supporters took it to the streets and let their dissatisfaction with second class citizenship be known. If Sioux Falls wakes up, perhaps the rest of the state will start to stir.

  9. Bob Newland 2022-06-30 20:50

    Sioux Falls means nothing in this argument except that it’s where b the votes are.

  10. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-06-30 20:53

    This protest was a stunning demonstration of the grassroots outrage at Alito’s turning South Dakota into prison camp for women.

    Too many stories, like this AP article, are leading with the story fo police, smoke bombs, and “disturbance” rather than centering the voices (or, for those marching silently, the actions and anger) of the women who launched and participated in this demonstration of what the public really thinks of theocracy.

  11. grudznick 2022-06-30 21:21

    grudznick is in favor of the protestors, unless they start interfering with other people’s rights or smashing windows and turn into a riot mob of grab-and-go hooligans.

    And the cops need to protect that diner on the Avenue named Philips, with a phalanx if needed.

  12. Bob Newland 2022-06-30 21:44

    grudznutz has leapt into the pool previously inhabited only by Kurt Evans.

  13. grudznick 2022-06-30 21:46

    Stop overgodding, Bob. You like the breakfasts there at the Diner on Philips as well as I do, if not more.

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