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.
#OperationGridlock from #Denver today. Look at all the #Patriots rising against #Tyranny #OPENAMERICANOW #COVID?19 cure can’t be worse than the problem itself. #endthelockdown #WWG1WWGA https://t.co/tDQFlDeQkH— @WokeWarrior (@WokeWarrior5) April 20, 2020
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Lunatics/Idiot resident in Denver (US) decided to protest against Lockdown.— Vikrant ~ ???????? (@vikrantkumar) April 20, 2020
Local Nurses decided to block their protest Rally.
What a powerful image pic.twitter.com/O83xlC3bSS
These pictures are circulating of the Denver rally today. This was a staged photo op for this photographer. More fake news!! pic.twitter.com/SpGvZ2ekwn— Jill Cole (@JCole1024) April 20, 2020
Lmao my friends just biked past the idiot rally in Denver and apparently it’s already mostly over and the only sign they saw was one saying “Fauci sucks”. What a sick burn.— Ex-Barista, PA-C (@BaristaPA) April 19, 2020
Ashamed to say I’m from Colorado where some idiots crowded in Denver yesterday to try and protest a virus Mother Nature take ‘em out— Chieko (@chiekolinkkk) April 20, 2020
The Patriots are coming alive in Denver Colorado— Paul Ebeling (@Redroadmaster) April 20, 2020
Every person there is concerned about our Constitutional rights saying:
We are going to get our nation back
Stand up and fight for the Constitution and the freedoms that make us great.
Wow reading about the protest in Denver. People arguing that death is part of life and that the few lives are worth the risk for a store. Bet you would not be saying that if it was your mother, child or grandparent. None of these actions are unconstitutional.— Josh Smith (@joshsmithy22) April 20, 2020
True That! I was just watching the rally in Denver to open Colorado back up. What a huge turn out. It looked the the first Tea party Rally. Thank you Patriots for showing up. https://t.co/l4aQguP4KR— American Made (@America94294017) April 19, 2020
They are not distancing or wearing face masks at the rally in Denver today. It only proves that they won't be safe if the state opens too soon.— Bontempi (@vbontempi) April 19, 2020
?????— Isabelle Knight (@izzyknight2000) April 20, 2020
There were no "white nationalists' at the Denver protests!!
Don't make stuff up!
People want to be allowed to support their kids, and keep their homes and jobs!
That means they're AMERICANS, not white nationalists.
I've never met a white nationalist in Denver.
After seeing the anti lockdown protests and the pieces of shit acting up to the counter protests in Denver, it makes me ask if anyone in America had a brain cell. Idiots...— Voice Of Hope (@VoiceOfHope4) April 20, 2020
Thousands in Denver protest business closures over virus https://t.co/vVi0yutqJI via @nypost— Liberty is Freedom (@SteveRe83674716) April 20, 2020
If the police in these states do anything crazy things will get out of hand quickly, people have had enough of Democrats ruling us like Serfs
Denver, Colorado Gridlock Protest today. Thousands attend. Endless lines of cars and patriots.— Big Dog (@clist666) April 20, 2020
Democrat Governor Jerod Polis' response??
Go home and wash your hands.
November3, 2020 IS National Democrat Punishment Day... pic.twitter.com/jKd7d6J6bV
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Welp Denver made national news for the “freedom” protests today. So proud :) makes us all looks so good!!!— Mads (@wellsmadison) April 19, 2020
I had a beautiful and lovely hike today but then come home to see the photos of the fascism rally in Denver and ughhhhhhh.— Kevin Westendorf ? (@tonedeafvoice) April 20, 2020