DENVER (CBS4) – Protesters marched down Peña Boulevard on Saturday afternoon and blocked traffic when they lay down in the roadway and chanted “I can’t breathe,” a reference to the death of George Floyd in Minnesota. The march on the road to Denver International Airport started in Denver’s Green Valley Ranch neighborhood and consisted mostly of students.

Denver protesters marched down Peña Boulevard and blocked traffic when they lay down in the roadway and chanted 'I can't breathe.'

(credit: CBS)

People with masks on and signs saying BLACK LIVES MATTER and displaying outrage over police brutality gathered at a high school near the intersection of Green Valley Ranch Boulevard and Tower Road. From STRIVE Prep – Green Valley Ranch, they walked together up Green Valley Ranch Boulevard and onto Peña Boulevard.

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“We want to show people that it’s important, it’s powerful, and that what we say is meaningful,” said Shania Brace, an organizer. “I just want people to understand that the youth has a big, important part in how things are going to be shaped in the future.

The chant of “I can’t breathe” lasted for nearly 10 minutes and resulted in a strange sight in the daylight hours — no cars on the road to DIA.

Five students who call themselves Denver Metro BLM started the march. They are all recent STRIVE Prep graduates and decided that because many of their parents weren’t letting them go to the rallies that have been taking place daily in downtown Denver, they would go ahead and organize their own for people who live in the Green Valley Ranch and Montbello neighborhoods.

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“My parents, personally, are worried about the violent protests that are happening, and so we’ve just been having this battle within our own home and I just think that shows just how divided the country is,” said Haley Valdez, one of the organizers. “So, I guess the next big step for me was creating my own and reaching out to the adults that do support me.”

The five spoke to the crowd before starting the march and at the conclusion they were planning to register voters. That was something they planned to do before the march started but stormy weather that blew through caused some delays.

The marchers were heading off an exit of Peña Boulevard just after 5 p.m. and were planning to head back to end the march at STRIVE Prep.

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“We haven’t seen anything out here in northeast Denver, and we really want everyone, for me especially my parents and people who have some similar belief systems, to see their own children out here protesting for the same issues that people have been protesting for for decades,” said Valdez.

Conor McCue