WESTCLIFFE, CO — There will be a protest this Fourth of July in place of the traditional community parade in Westcliffe, Colorado. “We decided we would protest,” said Westcliffe resident, Peggi Collins, “Exercise our first amendment rights of peaceable assembly and free speech.” The protest is about the parade it replaces.
Parade organizers attempting to find compromises that addressed COVID-19 concerns, gave up on trying to get permission from the county commission and health department. “They were met by so much red tape and push back from the boards that they just pulled out all together.” Collins spoke for herself, but says others agree the cancellation didn’t seem right.
They see disparity between a small-town parade with a couple hundred people not happening, while protests packed with thousands happen in other communities. They say social distancing takes place naturally in a county with only around 5,000 people. They also point out there were two positive COVID-19 cases in the early days of the pandemic, but there have not been any cases in the county for over six weeks.
There are others in the community who agree with canceling the parade. They approached News 5, but were concerned about giving their identity because of the politics in a small town. Their concerns revolve mainly around the high percentage of older community members in the area. They say a parade is not worth taking a chance with COVID-19.
Collins said the protest is getting a lot of support on social media. She has her ATV ready to be part of a line up of tractors, horses, and possibly some VFW members marching with flags and waving to people who come to watch. They will go down the main drag of Westcliffe for what is not a 4th of July parade. “Absolutely not, it’s a protest.”
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