COVID-19 Rally Provokes Twitter Flame War

Operation Gridlock protesters at the Colorado State Capitol on April 19.
Operation Gridlock protesters at the Colorado State Capitol on April 19. Photo by Evan Semón
On April 19, demonstrators in the dozens, hundreds or thousands (depending on who's doing the counting) descended on the State Capitol as part of a protest dubbed Operation Gridlock. Their message: Governor Jared Polis's stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 crisis is impinging on their rights, and he should immediately lift the mandate and return to business as usual.

The reaction to the event on Twitter was every bit as polarizing as the debate itself, offering insight into a citizenry that insists on politicizing that most apolitical of entities: a virus. We offer twenty examples below — ten representing those who see participants as patriots, and ten expressing the opinion that they're complete morons.

The rally made national and international news, largely because of a scene in which health-care workers apparently tried to prevent mask-free folks from gaining access to the festivities. But even that quickly became a matter of debate, with pro-rally forces declaring that the whole thing had been staged for the cameras, and the health-care workers standing firm.

In Denver, and America as a whole, everything is in dispute — including the notion that we're all in this pandemic together.

Here are our picks for the twenty most memorable tweets about Operation Gridlock, alternating between pro and con.

See our slideshow of the Operation Gridlock protest here.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts