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A day after hundreds of people gathered at the Adams County Government Center to protest a Tri-County Health Department mandate, about two dozen people met at Tri-County’s office in Westminster for …
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A day after hundreds of people gathered at the Adams County Government Center to protest a Tri-County Health Department mandate, about two dozen people met at Tri-County’s office in Westminster for another rally. Neither were random.
The protest over public health guidelines in Westminster on Wednesday drew supporters from Douglas County and Longmont. Though a local group that formed weeks ago organized the Westminster protest, the event’s turnout signals an increasing connectedness among local groups throughout the metro area.
“There’s many, many different tentacles and fingers that have been individually started. And now we are starting to connect all of those groups and feed them into an overarching organization,” said Luke Johnson, an attendee at Wednesday’s protest.
Johnson, who is from Douglas County and said he’s more connected with groups of angry parents in the Douglas County School District, learned of Wednesday’s protest from Telegram, an encrypted messaging app.
Telegram was one of several social media apps that Jennifer Ruder, the event’s organizer, used to advertise the event. She also used Caucus Room, a conservative social networking site, and Signal, another encrypted messaging service.
Ruder said she tried to create an event on Facebook but received an error message in response. However, she said that other people at the protest learned of the event through Facebook, from people reposting the event’s original advertisement.
“Join us in solidarity as we peacefully protest against the forceful tactics that the government, schools, medical facilities, businesses and employers are using to restrict our freedom and take away our choice to do what we think is in the best interest of ourselves and our families,” Ruder’s original post read.
Though social media was effective at spreading the word, it wasn’t the only way people learned of the event. Peggy Altschuler, a Longmont resident, said she and her husband learned of the event because the Boulder County Republicans advertised it. Meanwhile, Lisa Bexton said she heard about the event from fellow protesters at the rally at the Adams County Government Center — an event that people learned of through word of mouth and Facebook posts— the day prior.
Lisa Graham heard about the Westminster protest because she is friends with Ruder. That’s how Ruder’s group, the “Colorado Freedom Coalition,” started. Just among a group of friends in the Adams County region who knew each other through a homeschooling network, Graham said.
“This has definitely grown. This has grown and we are being able to have our voices united,” Graham added.
Some of the people who weren’t connected with Ruder before Wednesday’s protest said they hope to stay connected with the group afterwards. Bob Badovinac said he saw the event’s advertisement on Caucus Room and that he will keep an eye out for future advertisements from the Colorado Freedom Coalition.
Tri-County spokeswoman Becky O’Guin said, “We are aware of the protests and have felt the impact of what seems to be an organized effort, but are not aware of any actual efforts.”
O’Guin didn’t say how concerned Tri-County is about the increasing frequency of the protest, but added, “When we know of a protest we do let local law enforcement know, but the few we’ve had have been very peaceful.”
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