There were three distinct groups of activists at Civic Center Park Saturday.
First was the “Impeach Trump Now Rally” crowd, left-leaning protesters who have been holding actions here almost every week since Inauguration Day. Then there was the “Make America Great Again” ralliers, who gathered across the park to show support of the president along with other cities today. Finally there was a group of black-clad and often masked anarchists who came specifically to counter the group of Trump supporters.
Each group was in itself fairly small, but the conflicts between them caused as many cops (or more) to show up in riot gear on bikes, motorcycles, cars and trucks.
The morning began with the “Impeach Trump” gathering, which seemed to be on par with a similarly ill-attended rally at the amphitheater last week. Organizer Darlene “Smokee” Jones was upset by the small crowd, but said it was because of fears that there might be a “blizzard” this weekend.
The movement, she said, “is not losing steam.”
But attentions quickly were diverted to the pro-Trump gathering, which had yet to begin when the anarchist group approached from across the park chanting, “No Trump. No KKK.” It was at that point that police rushed in to create a line between the groups.
Anarchists wearing bandanas over their faces cursed at the Trump supporters and called them “fascists.” Trump supporters responded more politely — no cursing — but certainly slung their fair share of verbal heckling back over the police line, mostly calling their opponents “cowards” for wearing masks.
Both groups were fairly small and uniformly angry.
Anarchist activist Caryn Sodaro said the lack of participation — at least on her side — was “sad.” “There needs to be more people coming out,” she said.
Trump supporter Natasha Moore echoed a similar urgency, telling supporters through a bullhorn that they must spread the word to young people with kids who might not realize they have a political choice. She asked the crowd if anyone was representing Denver County. Only she and one other person raised their hands.
Most of the interaction over the police line consisted of yelling affronts.
There was one moment, though, where two young men on either side of the police took time to have a patient political discussion. Despite a long talk they agreed, quietly, to disagree.