DENVER (KDVR) — In the first public protest against the stay-at-home order, hundreds are planning to surround the Colorado state Capitol Sunday in protest of the restrictions.
Two protests are planned, including one called “Operation Gridlock Denver.”
A Facebook post for that event tells people to “Drive to the Capitol in Denver and gridlock the roads.”
A similar protest in Lansing, Michigan earlier this week drew sharp criticism from city officials, as cars blocked roads for hours on end.
“We can beat the virus and begin to reopen the economy. It’s not a zero-sum trade-off,” said Steven Peck, who plans on attending.
Peck says protesters are calling on Gov. Jared Polis to reopen certain businesses and implement targeted quarantines.
“The damage has been done, but every day that goes by continuing the same course of action, is a day we’re farther away from some sense of normalcy,” Peck said.
The City and County of Denver’s Joint Information Center released the following statement on the event:
“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 enforce the Stay at Home Order to protect the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, which we know the vast majority of our community understands. Enforcement is a last resort, but is necessary if we, as a community, are going to stop the spread of the virus.“
Many agree, calling the moves reckless and a slap in the face for those working on the front lines and fighting the virus.
“I think it’s selfish,” said Addison Kanon. “My grandparents got the virus just going to the store, and my grandpa is in the hospital fighting for his life because of it. It’s hard for me to just sit back and take it lightly.”
Polis responded to the protests on Fox News Friday, saying he hopes protesters act responsibly.
“I value free speech, I think it’s great people are doing so. I hope that they are also engaged in social distancing,” said Polis. “I’ve seen photos from other demonstrations that do show they’re wearing masks and being safe. We do care about everyone’s life, especially when people are exercising their right for free political speech, and petitioning their government.”