In response to protests challenging the stay-at-home order in Denver, Colorado, health care workers blocked protesting vehicles, according to photos and videos on social media.
On Sunday, ReOpen Colorado came to Denver to protest the stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Polis. In a video posted to Twitter, a woman holds a hand-made poster that reads, “Land of the Free” and yells, “Go to China if you want communism!” while a healthcare worker in teal scrubs stands calmly in front of her truck.
Images taken by photojournalist Alyson McClaran and posted to twitter capture the interaction. The photos depict two healthcare workers, each wearing scrubs, face masks, and sunglasses standing in a crosswalk to block the caravan of protesters.
Health care workers stand in the street in counter-protest to hundreds of people who gathered at the State Capitol to demand the stay-at-home order be lifted in Denver, Colo., on Sunday, April 19, 2020. Photos by Alyson McClaran pic.twitter.com/yanunDrVKj— Alyson McClaran (@McclaranAlyson) April 20, 2020
The video identifies the counter-protesters as nurses and the caption on the photos refers to the pair as healthcare workers, but their identities and occupations have not yet been confirmed.
The protest included a gathering in front of the Colorado capitol building that defied social distancing guidelines.
The protests were organized by Reopen Colorado and the Colorado Libertarian Party, according to KRDO. CPR News reported that the event had been planned on Facebook, but the page has since been taken down.
On April 19, the Washington Post reported that Facebook had removed some reopen protest pages that violated state laws, citing a Facebook spokesperson who said, “Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook. For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook.”
On April 17, President Trump issued a series of tweets that appeared to encourage protesters in Minnesota, Michigan, and Virginia, prompting backlash from governors. The New York Times covered the back-and-forth in a story published the same day.
Colorado is under a state-wide stay-at-home order through April 26. The city of Denver is under a stay-at-home directive until April 30. As of April 6, the city has issued 14 citations and 1,796 warnings relating to the coronavirus directive.
Colorado has had 9,730 confirmed cases and 422 deaths, according to state-wide case data. An additional “ReOpen” protest took place in Grand Junction, Colorado on April 18. Their Facebook event reports that only 61 protesters attended.