In late May and early June, over 30,000 protesters from the greater Denver metropolitan area descended upon the Colorado State Capitol, Civic Center Park and the surrounding streets to demand accountability for killer cops and vigilantes in light of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
The mostly young, diverse and Black-led crowds surrounded the State Capitol building starting May 28. Chants of “Say their names!” and “No justice, no peace! No racist police!” filled the Capitol Hill neighborhood as several different groups of protesters marched to block off I-25 near Colfax Avenue.
The protesters faced violence and threats from both fascist cops and white supremacists. On May 29, a woman drove into three peaceful protesters and fled from the scene, while the Denver police began tear gassing and shooting pepper balls in an attempt to disperse the protesters. They also gassed several residential neighborhoods.
The protests caused fear to the Colorado State Assembly, still in session at the Capitol building, which announced that it would not be in session through the weekend.
Following another day of peaceful protests, police-protecting Denver Mayor Michael Hancock launched a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., affecting residents’ ability to get food, shelter or medical supplies.
On Saturday, May 30, despite the incoming curfew and several nights of unprovoked police attacks against civilians, 10,000 Coloradans took to the streets demanding justice. Signs reading “I Can’t Breathe,” the last words of George Floyd, and “Solidarity with Minneapolis, Louisville and Georgia” could be seen for blocks as a march went through the downtown area.
At the State Capitol, several thousand people laid on the ground for nine minutes, echoing the time during which police choked George Floyd. At the nearby amphitheater in Civic Center Park, speeches by several Black community leaders demanded a stop to the racist police killings of people of color.
“Say his name!” yelled a chant leader at the end of the speeches, followed by the crowd’s fervent response of “George Floyd!” Then, “Say her name!” “Breonna Taylor!” “Say his name!” “Ahmaud Arbery!”
The curfew was eventually extended to last the entire week, and the National Guard was deployed. However, angered protesters continue to occupy Civic Center Park and march nightly. This comes despite the continued insistence of the police on attacking the crowd unprovoked with tear gas and pepper bullets, causing several severe injuries and hospitalizations.
Similar gassings of peaceful protesters also happened in nearby Colorado Springs.
The people of Denver have had enough of killer cops and are demanding justice be brought to the murderers of Black lives. The Colorado Calvary statue in front of the Capitol, dedicated to the soldiers who committed the genocidal Sand Creek Massacre against innocent Arapaho and Cheyenne Indians during the Civil War, has been liberated with paint saying “ACAB” (“All Cops Are Bastards”), “F*ck racists” and “Stop Killing Us” on the pedestal and statue itself.
Denver stands in solidarity with other cities that believe the system does not work for us and must be thrown out completely. Black Lives Matter!