LOOK: Clashing political protests make noise despite small numbers

There were three distinct groups of activists at Civic Center Park Saturday.

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Counterprotesters outside of a police line surrounding a pro-Trump march. A "Make America Great Again" rally at Civic Center Park, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

Counter protesters outside of a police line surrounding a pro-Trump march during a "Make America Great Again" rally at Civic Center Park, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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.

Anarchist activists yell obsenities at marching Trump supporters. A "Make America Great Again" rally at Civic Center Park, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

Anarchist activists yell obsenities at marching Trump supporters. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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.”

The "Impeach Trump Now" rally was sparsely populated, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

The "Impeach Trump Now" rally was sparsely populated. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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.

Riot police stand by, ready for action. A "Make America Great Again" rally at Civic Center Park, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

Riot police stand by, ready for action. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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.

Anarchist activist Caryn Sodaro holds a burned flag in Jeffrey Bartholomew's face. A "Make America Great Again" rally at Civic Center Park, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

Anarchist activist Caryn Sodaro holds a burned flag in Jeffrey Bartholomew's face. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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.

Counterprotesters outside of a police line surrounding a pro-Trump march. A "Make America Great Again" rally at Civic Center Park, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

Counterprotesters outside of a police line surrounding a pro-Trump march. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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.

Natasha Moore speaks at a "Make America Great Again" rally at Civic Center Park, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

Natasha Moore speaks through a bullhorn. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

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.

Pro-Trump protester Nathan Miller (left) and an anti-Trump protester named Albert have a political discussion over a police line. A "Make America Great Again" rally at Civic Center Park, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

Nathan Miller (left) and an anti-Trump protester named Albert have a political discussion over a police line. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Kenneth Cawood reaches for a charred flag over a police line. A "Make America Great Again" rally at Civic Center Park, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

Kenneth Cawood reaches for a charred flag over a police line. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A "Make America Great Again" rally at Civic Center Park, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

The "Make America Great Again" rally marches with a police escort. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Counterprotesters outside of a police line surrounding a pro-Trump march. A "Make America Great Again" rally at Civic Center Park, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

Counterprotesters outside of a police line surrounding a pro-Trump march. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Riot police stand by, ready for action. A "Make America Great Again" rally at Civic Center Park, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

Riot police stand by, ready for action. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

A "Make America Great Again" rally at Civic Center Park, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

A "Make America Great Again" rally. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Darlene "Smokee" Jones speaks at Civic Center Park as part of the "Impeach Trump Now" rally, March 25, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)  protest; rally; kevinjbeaty; denverite; denver; colorado; civic center park; copolitics;

Darlene "Smokee" Jones speaks at Civic Center Park as part of the "Impeach Trump Now" rally. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)