Protest Watch

"Save Our Children" Denver Group Tries to Dodge QAnon Ties

Save Our Children protesters at the Colorado State Capitol on August 29.
Save Our Children protesters at the Colorado State Capitol on August 29. @realulisesw
The weekend's biggest demonstration was the Denver-Aurora March Against Racism & Police Violence on August 30, the one-year anniversary of Elijah McClain's death, which attracted hundreds of peaceful participants.

But a smaller protest — a gathering at the Colorado State Capitol on August 29 staged by the Denver affiliate of the national Save Our Children organization — was noteworthy for another reason: possible ties to QAnon, a loose-knit but increasingly influential organization that specializes in wild, truth-free accusations that powerful, devil-worshiping pedophiles are trying to undermine the presidency of Donald Trump, whom its members see as nothing less than a savior.

Only a couple dozen people took part in that gathering, and members of the group corresponding on Facebook appeared thrilled that Denver7 was covering their effort. But the item ultimately shared by the station noted that the event's Facebook page "contains references to QAnon," including "numerous conspiracies and allegations related to the QAnon theory," plus allegations of "media complicity in pedophile rings...unfounded conspiracies about the involvement of celebrities and corporations in those rings, and call for violence saying 'dead pedophiles don't re-offend.'" Moreover, the report noted that "signs at the protest alleged prominent Democratic politicians are engaged in a secret pedophile ring."

Granted, Denver7 also quoted rally organizer Jacob Sledge denying any affiliation with QAnon — and afterward, a post appeared on the Save Our Children Facebook page that states: "I need to remind every one in this group we DO NOT condone violence. The msm [mainstream media] is now covering our story and they pointed out that some posts on the page 'called for violence.' Going forward these posts and comments will not be accepted and will be taken down from the group."

The page currently shows signs of multiple deletions, but numerous indications of QAnon sympathies still linger. One post still online this morning reads: "Crazy how the internet cannot eliminate child pornography, the root demand for child trafficking, but can censor and delete all 'conspiracy theories' and facts."

There are many other indications of QAnon activity in the metro-Denver area, including this fresh social media account from a reliable Westword source: "On a morning walk, passed a neighbor’s open garage. Two QAnon stickers on a military green SUV in the garage, surrounded on all sides by boxes of T/P [Trump/Pence] 2020 signs, with instructions to passersby to take them home. Not exaggerating. It was like a Girl Scout cookie distribution center for conspiracy theorists."

In the meantime, as documented by the Kansas City Star, QAnon connections to "Save Our Children" demonstrations have been cropping up around the country. Examples include an August 16 get-together in Mishawaka, Indiana, at which a protester "carried a sign that purported to show the molecular structure of adrenochrome, a chemical compound formed by the oxidation of adrenaline, the hormone produced during times of acute stress. Some QAnon followers believe that the compound has psychedelic effects and that global elites are torturing children and extracting it from their glands to use during their Satanic rituals."

In addition, a TV news video of a Chattanooga, Tennessee, protest on August 22 showed a sign with the hash tag #Pizzagate, a reference to stories about an utterly fictional child-sex ring operated out of a Washington, D.C., pizza shop that were floated during Trump's 2016 presidential race against Hillary Clinton.

What these clues don't tell us is whether QAnon believers are secretly infiltrating legitimate Save Our Children groups, thereby undermining the cause of individuals sincerely concerned about actual human trafficking instead of the made-up kind — and whether any of that was happening in Denver before the "msm" started paying attention.
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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