City officials said they’re aware of a planned gathering called “Operation Gridlock Denver” on Sunday outside the State Capitol protesting stay-at-home orders prompted by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
A Facebook event page for the gathering has more than 550 people saying they’re “going” to the event starting at 1 p.m. Similar protests took place in Michigan and Ohio this week. Event organizers for the Denver protest said it will be peaceful.
“Drive to the Capitol in Denver and gridlock the roads in protest to the mandatory lockdowns and violation of constitutional rights we are seeing in Colorado and across the nation,” the event page reads.
City spokesperson Erika R. Martinez said in a statement on Friday that while officials “understand people are frustrated with our current situation,” the stay-at-home order helps protect the welfare of the city’s communities.
“Operation Gridlock would be a wholly irresponsible and reckless way to express those frustrations,” Martinez said in a statement. “We must remind everyone that it is illegal to willfully block a public right-of-way.”
Martinez declined to say whether Denver police will be adding additional patrols in the area.
The event hosts are listed as Peace, Love & Hippie Juice, which doesn’t offer any information on its “About” page; the Libertarian Party of El Paso County; and the campaign page for Victoria Reynolds, who is running for county commissioner in Douglas County.
Gov. Jared Polis has previously said strict social distancing can help stop the spread of the virus and this week outlined what a state recovery could look like. Polis, a Democrat, has faced calls from some state Republican lawmakers who want more information about when restrictions will be lifted in the state.
Colorado’s stay-at-home order is scheduled to end April 26. Denver’s stay-at-home order is scheduled to be lifted on April 30. The city has been enforcing the orders through verbal warnings and some citations for businesses since enacting it last month.