Downtown corner a common spot for protest

Patriotic music belted from speakers Monday afternoon at the corner of Fifth Street and Rood Avenue as about 50 protesters pumped signs and shouted in response to supportive horn blasts from passing motorists.

The Western Slope Conservative Alliance and other local conservative groups staged demonstrations at all four corners on city sidewalks to again voice opposition to nationalized health care reform.

Alliance members have gathered at least six times since summer to stage rallies, the most recent protests near Grand Junction City Hall and the Federal Building.

Monday’s protesters were fewer in number than in previous gatherings, in which people were seen about one-third of the way up the sidewalk in front of the Alpine Bank building, said Tami Bannister, who works there.

“This is quieter than others. They’re usually yelling at each other,” she said.

Bannister said she’s seen four protests on the site that seems to be becoming the town square for public speaking.

Alliance member Dennis White said the group gathers at the intersection because it is near the Alpine Bank building offices of Rep. John Salazar, D-Colo., and Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has an office around the corner at the Federal Building.

Although White is aware the politicians probably aren’t in their Grand Junction offices, the nearby presence may have some effect on staff members, he said. Protesters also appreciate the reaction they receive at the busy intersection.

“There’s wide sidewalk space, and our cause gets some publicity because it’s downtown,” White said.

Protesting anywhere on public property in Grand Junction is OK as long as people are not impeding traffic flow or breaking laws, said Grand Junction police officer Chip McIntyre.

Topics discussed by Todd Braley on Monday included opposition to cap-and-trade legislation, because he said global warming is a farce and that illegal immigrants are using health care dollars meant for American citizens.

White said the protests should continue as some conservatives and Republicans feel their views are not being considered by politicians.

“I think a lot of people don’t understand how desperate, how angry the average person is watching American heritage being destroyed in a short amount of time,” White said.

“We feel like we are losing our country from within.”


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