On Sunday, hundreds of demonstrators flocked to Denver to protest against the state’s stay-at-home orders which were implemented last month. The demonstrations, called ‘Operation Gridlock’, saw some protestors remain in their cars holding signs “’Your “health” does not supersede my right’ and ‘Freedom over fear” while others ignored social distancing guidelines and huddled together on the lawn of the state Capitol.
But it’s not the demonstrations that have made international headlines. In a striking display of counter-protest, hospital nurses and medical workers were photographed standing in front of the demonstrators and their vehicles with their arms crossed, wearing scrubs and protective gear.
“Nurses as one of the most economically vulnerable, under-appreciated, over worked, and underpaid groups of workers ever,” one commentator lamented on Twitter. It’s distressing to see them tackling demonstrators on the front-line when they’re already enduring extended hours of work and putting their lives at risk.
Calls for the state’s police force to step in have also been cycling through social media feeds. The protesters have been called “criminals” for their decision to congregate in the state’s Capitol, which is disrupting ambulances and other essential services from operating efficiently.
“Shouldn’t the police be doing this so the nurses can do their work?” another Twitter user lamented.
The photos are evidence of the conflict that is dividing not just a city, but, an entire country. One young nurse in Denver spoke to 9News.com in America and said the protests felt like ‘a slap in the face.’
“I get it, we all want to be outside,” the nurse said. I don’t want to be stuck in my house either. I don’t think many people at all are enjoying this. That’s not the point. We’re having to be surrogate family members for our dying patients. Whether or not they’re COVID because we’re not allowing visitors right now. We can’t risk it.”