10 health care protesters arrested for staging sit-in at Sen. Cory Gardner’s office

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DENVER -- Ten protesters were arrested Thursday night from a sit-in at Sen. Cory Gardner's office, the Denver Police Department said.

They had been occupying the Republican senator's office since Tuesday morning. The protesters broadcast their removal on Facebook Live.

Protesters chanted "rather go to jail than to die without Medicaid" as officers put their wrists in zip ties and removed them one by one.

Police escorted them out of the building, some in wheelchairs, and put them into police vehicles.

Nine of the 10 taken into custody were inside the senator's office; the other one was outside and police said that person was "interfering."

Police said the request to remove the protesters came as a "signed complaint from a representative of Gardner's office."

Disability advocates from the group ADAPT organized a protest beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday outside the office on 17th Street.

They want Gardner to vote against the proposed federal health care bill, saying they believe it will cut Medicaid benefits to individuals who need them to survive independently.

“They depend on these services to be able to live in the community independently, and have jobs and be productive members of society, go to school. Families do all the things that we get to do and we don’t have to fight like this,” Hope Morris said.

The protest quickly turned into a sit-in after participants were reportedly denied access to the senator’s office.

Gardner's office released a statement Thursday night.

"At approximately 9:30 am MT on Tuesday morning, several individuals began protesting in Senator Gardner’s office.

We asked security and police to not remove these individuals from the office. We had staff spend the night in the office on Tuesday and Wednesday nights to prevent security or police from removing them from the office and took several other significant steps to ensure they were comfortable and safe. Senator Gardner and his staff have previously met with individuals from this group. Senator Gardner's healthcare policy staffer has met in person or held telephone calls with individuals from this group 16 times since January of this year - the most recent meeting was June 22nd. They have also met in person with Senator Gardner this year.

At approximately 7pm MT on Thursday June 29th, Denver police removed these individuals from the building due to several factors including concerns for their health and safety, and the impact of the protest on other tenants in the building."

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