Protests in Colorado stress peaceful occupation

Following mass-arrests in Denver, demonstrators persist across the state

Published October 17, 2011 5:31PM (EDT)

Following dozens of arrests on Friday and Saturday, Occupy Denver protesters assumed a more understated, but no less determined, posture heading into the new week -- although "individual protesters continue to criticize police tactics," according to the Denver Post.

The Saturday arrests generated national media attention, as "[o]fficers reportedly pepper-sprayed and arrested several protesters ... after some of the movement's 2,000 demonstrators blocked Broadway and ignored instructions not to pitch kitchen tents." Still, on Sunday, organizers emphasized cooperation and non-aggression:

Several [protesters] carried signs Sunday declaring "Police are 99%, too" and said officers were just following orders. When one organizer shouted at an afternoon meeting that the group doesn't blame the police, the crowd erupted into applause.

Meanwhile in nearby Boulder, as many as 700 protesters turned out over the weekend for a demonstration largely absent of police interference. The movement in that city has generated at least two distinct, but mostly complementary, Occupy Boulder organizations. Demonstrators gathered on Saturday for a march through the city's Pearl Street Mall, where they "banged on drums, blew noisemakers and clamored loudly as Regional Transportation District buses and vans driving by honked in support."

Most striking, perhaps, were the echoes of a larger movement, one responsible for protests in dozens more cities around the globe. According to the Boulder Daily Camera:

Milt Garrett, 74, drove from Estes Park on Saturday morning over concerns of the rising cost of his health insurance, which has doubled in price since 2002. He said he canceled his plan earlier this week.

"I can't afford it. Now I'm going to have to depend on my kids," said Garrett, whose adult son echoed the sentiment at a rally in Melbourne, Australia.

By Peter Finocchiaro

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