DENVER (KDVR) — Hundreds of buzzing engines hummed through downtown Denver, matched with chants to reopen Colorado.
“I hope he [Gov. Polis] opens his eyes and again, lets us be adults,” said rally organizer John Tiegen. “We’re not his children. We don’t need to be treated as children. “
Tiegen was part of the CIA’s Annex Security Team that on September 11, 2012 held off terrorists trying to storm the American Embassy in Benghazi Libya. Seeing the impact restrictions had on his own community inspired him to organize a protest around the capitol on Sunday.
“People are losing their homes,” Tiegen said. “People can’t feed their kids. Businesses are shut down for good.”
Signs saying “Recall Polis” and “Fear is the real Virus” flanked the street outside Colorado’s Capital for hours, as cars honked and engines revved. A single nurse from Denver Public Schools stood across the street in her scrubs, wielding her own sign: “Don’t like wearing a mask? Try a ventilator.”
While several participants ignored the state’s social distancing and mask guidelines, Tiegen says there are risks in contracting the virus in day-to-day life, comparing the rally to shopping at places like Lowe’s or Walmart.
“We shouldn’t be waiting for the government to tell us okay now it’s safe,” Tiegen said. “We should be able to decide when it’s safe for us.”
A spokesperson for Governor Polis shared a statement with the Problem Solvers about Sunday’s protest:
“Coloradans have a first amendment right to protest and to free speech, and the governor hopes they are social distancing and staying safe. The Governor’s top priority remains the health and safety of Coloradans, and each person has a responsibility to protect themselves and their neighbor during t his difficult time. If folks are doing a good job at social distancing,staying home as much as possible, and wearing masks when leaving the house, it will show up in the data, and the Governor will be able to remove additional restrictions on the economy. If not, some communities could be forced to look at implementing additional temporary restrictions.”