Demonstrators gather in Denver as the presidential election remains undecided

“We all just have to take a deep breath and be patient.”

Demonstrators protesting the police and the government begin their evening on East Colfax Avenue by burning a pro-police flag. Nov. 4, 2020.

Demonstrators protesting the police and the government begin their evening on East Colfax Avenue by burning a pro-police flag. Nov. 4, 2020.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Demonstrators gathered for a rally in Arvada and a protest in Denver’s Cheesman Park on Wednesday, a day after an uncertain national election that kept Colorado voters in suspense.

While President Trump has made several claims about winning key battleground states, the race had still not been called by any major news organization as of Wednesday evening. Former Vice President Joe Biden won Colorado by a comfortable margin and currently has a projected electoral vote edge over the president based on preliminary results. Preliminary results also show Biden easily won Denver.

Outside Arvada City Hall, cars honked and people prayed as Robin Kupernik and dozens of demonstrators gathered for a protect-the-vote rally organized by Arvadans for Progressive Action. Kupernik is hoping for a fair election outcome but said statements by Trump imperiled democracy.

“We all just have to take a deep breath and be patient and have faith in the folks who are counting the votes,” she said.

Arvada resident Pat Malone helped organize the rally after attending a training session from “Choose Democracy,” an open platform that encourages responsible activism. The topic was what to do in case there was a coup. She remembers the trainer saying, “people usually don’t get notice that there might be a coup, and we’ve got notice.”

As anxiety over the 2020 election escalated, Malone said it didn’t matter what people’s political beliefs were. She saw a common bond among the people taking the training: They were frightened of losing their democracy. She wondered if she was supposed to show up in Washington, D.C. The trainer told the group to take a page from the Black Lives Matter movement, which amassed its power and relevance from being spread out across the nation.

“It’s [BLM] everywhere, it’s people in small towns, big towns, urban, rural they’re everywhere, and so it’s critical that we be everywhere,” Malone said.

A rally to "count every vote" in Arvada. Nov. 4, 2020. (Jenny Brundin/CPR News)

A rally to "count every vote" in Arvada. Nov. 4, 2020. (Jenny Brundin/CPR News)

A rally to "count every vote" in Arvada. Nov. 4, 2020. (Jenny Brundin/CPR News)

A rally to "count every vote" in Arvada. Nov. 4, 2020. (Jenny Brundin/CPR News)

“I just want every vote counted,” said Malone, holding a sign with the same message. “You know, Trump might win it if every vote is counted. So I honestly don’t understand why everybody wouldn’t embrace that. It’s our democracy and we’ve lost so much.”

Malone said American elections have been “battered,” pointing to “systemic voter suppression.”

“If we can’t even elect and get through an election, oh my gosh, I honestly feel like we’re done.”

In Cheesman Park, about 50 demonstrators huddled in small groups for a protest and march.

Brian Loma, who described himself as a First Amendment advocate and citizen journalist, said the gathering was a “community solidarity event.”

When approached by a reporter, several other people declined to comment but indicated they’d likely march from the park to the state Capitol building.

Around 6:30 p.m., a group that included supporters of Black Lives Matter and anti-police protestors prepared to march from the park to the state Capitol building. Organizers read out a phone number for legal assistance and encouraged marchers to write it down.

Demonstrators protesting the police and the government, regardless of who wins the election, begin their evening on East Colfax Avenue by burning a pro-police flag. Nov. 4, 2020.

Demonstrators protesting the police and the government, regardless of who wins the election, begin their evening on East Colfax Avenue by burning a pro-police flag. Nov. 4, 2020.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Demonstrators protesting the police and the government, regardless of who wins the election, begin their evening on East Colfax Avenue by burning a Trump campaign flag. Nov. 4, 2020.

Demonstrators protesting the police and the government, regardless of who wins the election, begin their evening on East Colfax Avenue by burning a Trump campaign flag. Nov. 4, 2020.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

The crowd swelled to about 100 as the march started. One small group of demonstrators set fire to pro-police flags and a Trump campaign banner. Others sang chants against Trump, Biden and the Denver Police Department as they marched down Colfax Avenue carrying a banner that read, “Death to fascism and the liberalism that enables it” and chanting, “the cops and the Klan go hand-in-hand.”

Police officers kept their distance as marchers approached the Capitol. Someone in the crowd tossed out a canister that spewed colorful smoke while another demonstrator dressed in all black later spray-painted a metal utility box.

The mood and actions of demonstrators and police changed as the march moved toward the District 6 police station in downtown Denver. At least one protestor threw a firework at the station, which prompted officers to respond with what appeared to be tear gas and pepper-spray projectiles.

Reporters saw several other officers moving near the station, including ones wearing tactical gear who followed protestors with armored vehicles.

A firework explodes at Denver Police District Six headquarters, lobbed by a demonstrator protesting police and the government, regardless of who wins the election. Nov. 4, 2020.

A firework explodes at Denver Police District Six headquarters, lobbed by a demonstrator protesting police and the government. Nov. 4, 2020.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

After protesters marched along a strip of Colfax between Grant and Franklin streets, broken glass was visible near some businesses. A man who declined to provide his name but identified himself as a manager at New Money Express said a person dressed in black clothing shattered the storefront window with a rock.

Eight people were arrested on complaints of criminal mischief, assault and weapons violations, said Denver police spokesperson Doug Schepman. Officers recovered a handgun, knife, hammer and bear spray, and took reports of graffiti, property damage and a fire in an overturned dumpster, he said. Schepman said officers used “pepperballs and mace during the protest.”

The protest was promoted by the Colorado Springs Anti-Fascists’ Twitter account. Another group, Northern Colorado Community Mutual Aid and Defense, promoted a crowd-sourced bail fund to free two protesters it said police arrested Wednesday.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

Demonstrators protesting the police and the government, regardless of who wins the election, walks through a cloud from their own smoke bomb on East Colfax Avenue. Nov. 4, 2020.

Demonstrators protesting the police and the government, regardless of who wins the election, walks through a cloud from their own smoke bomb on East Colfax Avenue. Nov. 4, 2020.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A demonstrator writes "Amerikkka" on the side of a building on East Colfax Avenue during a protest against the police and the government, regardless of who wins the election. Nov. 4, 2020.

A demonstrator writes "Amerikkka" on the side of a building on East Colfax Avenue during a protest against the police and the government. Nov. 4, 2020.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
A dumpster burns during a protest against police and the government, regardless of who wins the election, on East Colfax Avenue. Nov. 4, 2020.

A dumpster burns during a protest against police and the government on East Colfax Avenue. Nov. 4, 2020.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
Denver Police officers advance on demonstrators protesting police and the government, regardless of who wins the election, on East Colfax Avenue. Nov. 4, 2020.

Denver Police officers advance on demonstrators protesting police and the government on East Colfax Avenue. Nov. 4, 2020.

Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Thanks for reading another Denverite story

Looks like you’re the type of person who reads to the ends of articles! Well, true believer, you might really like our morning newsletter. It’s quick, free and gets you up to speed on the important and delightful things happening right here in Denver. Does Denverite help you feel more connected to what’s up in your area? Do you want to be a part of it?

Member donations are critical to our continued existence and growth.

Weird times

Denverite is powered by you. In these weird times, the local vigilance, the local context, the local flavor — it’s powered through your donations. If you’d miss Denverite if it disappeared tomorrow, donate today.

You’re our superpower

Denverite supporters have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.

You’re our superpower

Denverite members have made the decision to financially support local journalism that matters to you. Ready to tell your networks why? Sharing our “About” page with your own personal comments could really help us out.