There was a marriage proposal at the Colorado Capitol on Sunday — the man went down on one knee in front of a chain-link security fence at the base of the building’s west steps — but not much else happened, despite nationwide calls for armed protests ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
Only a handful of people showed up at the Capitol in Denver on Sunday for what was billed as a “Refused to Be Silenced — Stand Up For Liberty” rally on social media. At the noon start time, members of the news media outnumbered apparent protesters three-to-one, and the demonstrators never coalesced into an organized group or professed a clear purpose.
One man wore a mask with the word “Trump” emblazoned on it. A woman stood for a while holding a sign demanding Congress be held accountable. A man who arrived later in the day carried a sign calling for U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Rifle, to be impeached. A cadre of street preachers fired up a sound system and urged those present to look to Jesus.
The extra security measures taken ahead of Sunday’s event were apparent all around the small gathering. Temporary chain-link fencing enclosed the Capitol and several other buildings. Windows were boarded up with plywood.
One and sometimes two patrol cars were parked near the Capitol steps, with officers inside. At one point, a truck with officers hanging onto the outside drove past the group, and people who appeared to be members of law enforcement could be seen surveying the crowd from a nearby rooftop.
But the crowd never grew larger than 50 people, and many of those present were members of the news media.
The calm in Denver was reflected nationwide Sunday. Small groups of right-wing protesters gathered at some Capitol buildings across the country under the close watch of law enforcement, who are still wary after the pro-Trump mob broke into the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6. That attack left a Capitol police officer and four others dead, including a woman who was shot by a police officer.
Denver police previously said they were aware of two planned protests this week, and the FBI warned that protests should be expected across the country through Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.
Pro-Trump groups had called for nationwide armed protests at noon Sunday at all 50 state capitols, but after the FBI warnings were made public some right-wing groups cautioned members against participating. Twitter included the threat of further armed protests at the U.S. Capitol and state capitol buildings on Jan. 17 among its rationales for permanently suspending President Donald Trump from the social media network.