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Protesters arrested at Sen. Gardner’s office released from jail

DENVER -- Nine protesters arrested Thursday night in Sen. Cory Gardner’s downtown Denver office were released from jail early Saturday morning.

The group of disabled protesters began early Tuesday morning when they entered Gardner’s fifth-story office building.

They vowed not to leave until the Republican senator promised he would vote no on the proposed health care bill in front of the Senate.

Nearly 60 hours after they began the sit-in, a representative of Gardner’s office signed a complaint that called for the Denver Police Department to remove and arrest the protesters.

Nine protesters, five in wheelchairs, were taken to the Denver County Jail where tensions only mounted on Friday night after their release was delayed.

A large group of supporters gathered outside of the jail and were chanting throughout the evening.

The protesters were released early Saturday morning after spending nearly 30 hours inside the jail.

The Denver Sheriff’s Department said in a release deputies and medical staff worked to ensure the safety of everyone "while maintaining the integrity of the process."

When the protesters were received at the jail, 42 others were waiting to be processed. From the time protesters arrived into custody until being released, another 181 people were processed and 130 were released, the sheriff's department said.

Dawn Russell, a representative with the ADAPT organization, was one of the nine protesters arrested.

“We knew we would leave that office with Sen. Gardner committing to no cuts to long-term Medicaid,” Russell said. “The only other way we would leave is to be carried out of there.”

The group said its actions have gained incredible attention from all around the country.

“It just exploded, one of the most intense times I’ve had,” Russell said. “You can do anything with that kind of support. There’s nothing like it.”

The arrested protesters face misdemeanor trespassing charges, but say they remain committed to their cause.

“We will never give up,” Russell said.