DENVER (CBS4) – The city of Denver became the latest city in the country to hold protests to open the economy as health experts continue the fight against coronavirus. Two protests occured at the state capitol Sunday afternoon.

(credit: CBS)

Organizers want the state government to lift a statewide stay-at-home order which is set to expire April 26. An order for Denver is in place until the end of April.

“People should be able to make up their own mind. If you don’t want to go out, if you’re still worried, stay at home. I think you should have the option,” said Scott Johnson, a protester from southeast Denver. “A lot of these small business owners are getting crushed. They should have the option of being open if the public can make their own decision.”

“The needs of those at risk are being weighed so much more heavily than those people that are out here losing their income, losing their jobs,” said Alan Weldon, a small business owner from Castle Pines.

One protest, Operation Gridlock, called for drivers to pack roads around the state capitol to draw awareness to what organizers call a violation of constitutional rights. A separate protest, scheduled immediately afterward, called for people to bring signs to the Capitol and stand 6 feet apart, though that did not happen in many cases.

Throughout the protests, drivers crept down Lincoln, blaring their horns and creating heavy traffic. On the Capitol steps and lawn, other protesters, many of whom were not wearing masks, waved signs about individual liberty and re-electing the president, as well as some expressing doubt of experts and models.

Frustration at times boiled over. CBS4 observed one man try to kick a cyclist’s bicycle, as well as several minor verbal altercations.

(credit: CBS)

According to Colorado State Patrol, troopers detained three people, but no arrests were made. Denver Police officers, who could be seen wearing masks, did not make any arrests either, a department spokesperson said.

Throughout the protest, attendees voiced frustration, fear, and concern regarding the economic effects of the state’s stay at home order. At the beginning of April, more than 100,000 Coloradans filed for unemployment. Others, are still working in a different capacity and struggling.

“My brother owns a small business and I live with him and he’s ready to shut the doors and he has no money coming in,” said protester Cari Waldrop. “What are we to do?”

Still, state officials have credited the drastic measures for Colorado’s delayed peak in cases – warning opening too soon would be a mistake.

During the protest, some health care workers, donned in medical scrubs, tried to put faces to that belief by standing in the crosswalk of a nearby side street during red lights.

Stephen Parlato was one of the few counter protesters in the crowd. While he applauded attendees for using their right to protest, he told CBS4 he fears the country won’t handle this situation properly.

“I am just totally convinced that without further testing on a wider scale, that opening up too soon courts danger. It’s playing Russian roulette with our lives,” he said.

(credit: CBS)

Gov. Jared Polis’ office responded to the protest to re-open the economy:

Coloradans have a first amendment right to protest and to free speech, and the governor hopes that they are using social distancing and staying safe. No one wants to reopen Colorado businesses and lift these restrictions more than the Governor, but in order to do that, Coloradans have to stay home as much as possible during this critical period, wear masks and wash their hands regularly to slow the spread of this deadly virus.

PHOTO GALLERY: State Capitol Coronavirus Protests

The Denver Joint Information Center responded to the protest:

We are aware of Operation Gridlock. We understand people are frustrated with our current situation, but the Stay at Home Order protects the health, safety and welfare of our entire community.  Operation Gridlock would be a wholly irresponsible and reckless way to express those frustrations.  We must remind everyone that it is illegal to willfully block a public right-of-way. The City must protect the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, which we know the vast majority of our community understands.  Enforcement is a last resort.

RELATED: Latest Updates On The Coronavirus Outbreak In Colorado

A second protest, Open Colorado, was planned for 2 p.m. It was hosted by the Libertarian Party of Colorado and others. Organizers are pushing for a similar goal: to open everything up again.

(credit: CBS)

New data released by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment show 9,730 positive cases and 422 deaths. There are currently 874 Coloradans hospitalized, and 215 patients have been discharged or transferred within the past 24 hours.

About The Colorado Stay-At-Home Order

Colorado’s stay-at-home order amid the coronavirus outbreak went into effect on the morning of March 26 and it is currently set to expire on April 26.

Comments (13)
  1. jim says:

    “In the 48 hours following a 19 April “Operation Gridlock” protest in Denver, devices reached the borders of neighboring states including Wyoming, Nebraska, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Utah.”

    See link below. These protesters from other states are bringing Covid into Colorado. Idiots should be arrested!

  2. Davi Joel Aigner says:

    So far I know more people that have died from suicides due to financial pressure since the lockdown than I do people who have died from the virus, so maybe these people have a point.

  3. You people are absolutely disgusting! You have proven once again how are education system has failed all of you! Do you even know what asymptomatic means? You have the VIRUS, you don’t know you have the virus. You are contagious! You are spreading it everywhere you go! Public bathrooms, door handles, tables, etc. You just gave it to someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, EVEN YOUR OWN FAMILY. Ask yourself do you wanna kill someone today???
    And don’t give me that b.s that your business are closing…for good. Business are not closing!!! Think of a VCR! There is the stop button where businesses are closing for good, there is the play button, where the business is as normal. And there is the PAUSE button. Right now businesses are on pause. Mortgages and rent are on hold. And oh poor baby, you can’t go get a hair cut. Things are a bit rough. You can’t spend money as normal like buying a video game, having sushi, lobster, prime rib. Instead you have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Peanut butter and jelly = not spreading the virus and killing someone. Peanut butter was used in the Vietnam war! It’s HIGH IN CALORIES. Our veterans had to rough it. So suck it up and STOP COMPLAINING and SAVE A LIFE! And if you don’t…don’t go to the hospital when you do catch it and ask for our brave healthcare workers to help you because you were to selfish!
    David Swanson
    Salida CO

  4. Cindy Krigbaum says:

    Idiots! Selfish idiots! Think of all the first responders. You spread the virus you put THEIRLIVES on the line.

  5. Barb says:

    Don’t you think the nurses should be home resting in between their grueling tasks of trying to save lives instead of blocking your selfish, negative, careless antics! Shame on every one of you!

  6. Remove the Anti-President instantly!!! Strip trumpanzees of citizenship and deport them.

  7. Barbara says:

    Your typical Republicans only thinking of themselves and money. . if they get covid 19 they should be last on the list for help. Selfish people.

  8. Sully says:

    This was a grass roots gathering of thousands on the Capitol grounds and in cars on the streets in the area. There were no paid protesters here like the Soros-paid protesters at liberal rallies. People are rightfully upset at the government taking our constitutional rights with no evidence that shutting down the economy even helps to stop the spread of the virus. The spread of the virus in places like Sweden where they didn’t shut down the economy is no worse than here.
    We just need to isolate those at risk and let the rest of of get on with our lives with appropriate precautions. How about a little personal responsibility rather than treating us like children. If this drags on long, many more people will die from suicide, OD, alcohol, etc. than the Wuhan Virus will kill. Most of those that are dying were in poor health and on their last legs anyway.

  9. Jay Alenby says:

    I am curious of any of these people will admit it when they find out that they contracted the virus at this event.

    1. This is appalling. I hope that the protesters have signed agreements stating that they forgo all medical care in the event that they become ill. They absolutely do have the right to take that risk as long as they also want to face the consequences.

  10. Mark Crosby says:

    Lets say 1000 people attend this thing (thats being generous). CO has a population of 5.6 million. Thats a whopping .017% of the population of CO. LOL, conservatives are so lazy. Can’t even get a decent crowd to show up. LOL, losers.

  11. Colorado Native says:

    100% of the organizers of these events do not live Colorado. They travel from state to state promoting hate and chaos. Most of the participants are transplants from states where racism and ignorance thrives.

    1. Teresa says:

      Agreed!! We can’t let their hate and stupidity change us.

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