Denver groups protest Mike Pence visit

Stuart Smith

Vice President Mike Pence came to Denver last week to host a private event for donors and other supporters in Colorado. Outside of the Marriott in the Denver Tech Center where the event was held, multiple groups lined up in protest of Pence and the rest of the Trump Administration.

The protest was about what the protesters see as an attack on women’s reproductive rights.

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Many of the protesters, mainly female, dressed up as handmaidens to portray that they felt that their rights were being set back. 

Lili Ana (right) joins the protestors outside the Denver Marriott Tech Center where Vice President Mike Pence is to give a speech at a Republican Party fundraiser. Lili and other spoke out against the VP’s anti-abortion stance and attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

Ashley Wheeland and Laura “Pinky” Reincsch, of Planned Parenthood Votes Colorado and One Colorado, respectively, explained what their groups were doing there.

“We’re letting the administration know our concerns with their policies and that their rolling us back, taking care away from women and LGBTQ groups that’s really needed,” Wheeland said.

Reinsch addressed a concern that she has specifically with Vice President Pence.

“When (he) was governor of Indiana he signed a bill to allow businesses and individuals to discriminate against LGBTQ people and claim that their religion is the reason why,” Reinsch said. “And now, those viewpoints are in the White House under him and Trump, so we want to make it clear that that’s not what we stand for.”

Reinsch also voiced displeasure with Pence advocating for federal money to go towards conversion therapy while he was campaigning for Congress. However, Pence did not publicly push for conversion therapy while running, with his congressional campaign website instead stating that “(r)esources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

The handmaidens all lined up on the side of the street closest to the Marriott, while the rest of the protesters stood on the other side of the street.

For more than an hour, with temperatures hovering between 30 and 35 degrees Fahrenheit, the protesters stood outside, listening to various speakers who supported the cause and chanting various anti-Trump chants.

The protest, hosted by various chapters of Indivisible from along the Front Range, had speakers from the Colorado ACLU, the Interfaith Alliance, EDF Action and One Colorado, with none of them speaking for more than ten minutes at a time.

After the speakers finished, a small amount of the protesters began to leave, due to dropping temperatures.

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Many of the Coloradans who were there to attend Pence’s event listened to and watched the protesters by happenstance, as there was only one lane that they were able to enter the Marriott in, and the line was slow due to security checks outside of the event.

None of the attendees reacted much to the protesters, although some of them had signs in their windows, including one that said “adoptions not abortions,” written on a Magna-Doodle, about three times as big as a traditional Etch-A-Sketch.

Protestors gather outside the Denver Marriott Tech Center where Vice President Mike Pence is to give a speech at a Republican Party fundraiser. Those present spoke out against the VP’s anti-abortion stance and attempts to defund Planned Parenthood. (Davis Bonner | Collegian)

Around 4:00 p.m., Denver Police began to clear out the street completely, even keeping protesters on the sidewalk, so the Vice President Pence’s motorcade could get to the Marriott without trouble.

After about 20 minutes, the motorcade arrived, and the protesters began chanting “Fuck Pence.”

While some of the protesters stayed after Pence’s motorcade passed and the street was reopened, many began to leave.

The Collegian was unable to obtain a press pass to Pence’s event. 

Collegian reporter Stuart Smith can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @notstuartsmith