The tent community set up by the Occupy Denver protesters outside the Capitol was dismantled by police under the order of Governor John Hickenlooper at 3 a.m. on Friday, prompting massive turnout and more aggressive protesting during the weekly Saturday rally.
After indicating that he could not allow the unlawful accumulation of people camping out in the Civic Center Park, where Occupy Denver had about 70 tents set up, Hickenlooper sent in a police force dressed in riot gear to dismantle the community. Twenty-three protesters were arrested for suspected unlawful conduct and for standing down the police during the raid. Hickenlooper'sdecision has garnered a mixed response from participatants and opponents. Some are supportive of his decision but others, especially protesters, are furious.
"He throws out all these ordinances and laws but I think Hickenlooper fails to understand the spirit of the Constitution," said Yvonne Varela, a candidate at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies.
She argues, as many protesters do, that city laws should not counteract the ability of the people to peacefully protest and assemble. Hickenlooper's Facebook account has been overwhelmed by an outpouring of anger by citizens sympathetic to Occupy Denver. Under one post regarding GE's entrance into Colorado, there were over 130 comments, many arguing his decision to remove the Occupy camp.