Protests planned this weekend against Governor's lock-down

Posted at 11:42 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-18 02:21:49-04

DENVER, Colorado — Many people in Colorado are growing impatient for the stay-at-home orders to be lifted. Hundreds are organizing protests at the state capitol for this coming Sunday.

One of the organizers, Victoria Reynolds, is a county commissioner candidate in Douglas County. She strongly believes the public health orders are damaging livelihoods and trampling civil rights.

"The First Amendment protects our freedom to assemble, our freedom of speech, our freedom of religion," she said. "Closing down churches, I think may violate that; closing down any place with more than 10 people assembled, that violates the right to assemble."

Reynolds said she and others are asking demonstrators who plan to come to Denver to be peaceful and still respect the social distancing order.

"To stand 6 feet apart at a minimum, with masks and signs asking the governor to reopen Colorado back up."

Similar demonstrations were held earlier this week in Minnesota, Florida, Virginia and Kentucky.

Reynolds said she sympathizes with those fighting the virus, but said government leaders cannot ignore all of the social and economic hardship that self-isolation is creating.

"There's been an increase in calls to the domestic violence hot-line of 200 percent, an increase in calls to the national suicide hot-line of 900 percent."

Local elected leaders are also raising concerns. Canon City Mayor Ashley Smith pleaded with the governor in an open letter to reopen businesses saying that owners in her town need to be given a fighting chance.

"They are not asking for hand outs or more government funds, but the simple opportunity to unlock their store front, welcome a customer, and earn a living," Smith wrote

During his news conference Friday afternoon, Governor Polis appeared to be aware of the growing frustration. He stressed that the lock-down is only temporary.

"We'll get through this. All restrictions will go away, we'll cheer on the Rockies we'll cheer on the Broncos," Polis said.

However, he cautioned against being reckless in lifting restrictions which he fears will lead to a spike in new infections and hospitalizations. He currently anticipates lifting some restrictions during a transition phase at the end of this month. However, Mr. Polis said there needs to be a cure for the virus, a vaccine or greater herd immunity before he would consider lift all restrictions.

"As we move towards opening things, we have to be able to sustain the social distancing, and that means doing things in a different way because we want to make sure we don't exceed the hospital bed capacity," Polis said.

The various groups organizing rallies on Sunday also have different start times listed. Some indicate the demonstrations will begin at 1:00 p.m. Reynolds said her event will happen at 2:00 p.m.

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