A rally against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn of Roe v. Wade saw upwards of 4,000 people at the state capitol Monday.
“My mother and my grandmother had more rights than I do right now, and that’s very scary,” Jenny Brannigan of Denver said. “A lot of women right now, and a lot of men, are very worried about their future.
“Though access to abortion services was the main focus of the rally, many protestors were also concerned about other constitutional rights which could be rolled back by the court, including access to contraception and equal marriage.
“I do believe everyone should have their right to practice their religion in our country,” Brannigan said. “But your religion does not get to dictate my choice over my body.”
“This is f******* healthcare. This is our right. Our bodies are more regulated than f******* guns and it’s disgusting,” said Jennifer, who asked that her last name not be printed for privacy. “We’ve had this right for how many years? And they just take it back.”
The event was organized by Colorado Reproductive Health Rights and Justice Coalition. It featured speeches from Gov. Jared Polis and Representative Diana DeGette.
After the speeches, the crowd, equipped with homemade signs and megaphones, broke into multiple marches around downtown Denver, closing down major roadways like East Colfax.
“This is total ‘second rate citizen’ stuff,” Diane States of Denver said as she marched down 17th Avenue. “We are hoping everyone can be themselves. We not saying everybody needs an abortion, we’re saying we should have a choice.”
She was part of the largest march, which included more than 3,000 people at its height and extended longer than a mile down 17th Avenue as they approached downtown.
The march filled much of the 16th Street Mall before heading to Speer near the I-25 exit, forcing the major thruway to close.
There, the crowd of mostly women came face to face with police in riot gear keeping them from continuing towards the interstate. The protestors, wearing simple summer attire, drew a stark contrast with the black, armor clad police officers and flashing vehicles.
“I hope we are heard. That’s why we have freedom of speech,” Talitha Zanios said through tears. “And the government is supposed to be something that we are directing, for the people. None of this sh** is for the people.”
After a momentary standoff with police, the crowd was pushed back into downtown where at least one other march was already taking place. Police on motorcycles rushed between the various crowds attempting to control traffic and protestors.
“We have to inconvenience people. there’s a lot of people with privilege that aren’t going to be inconvenienced by everyday stuff,” Steve Hernandez of Denver said while marching with his partner and their dog.
“This disruption is important because it gives a lot of people from privilege an opportunity to stop and look and reflect. Whether they choose to do that, I don’t know. But we are not going to reach them. Their lives are different from us and this is the one common place we have: the streets.”