Colorado Springs, CO – On February 4, the Colorado Springs People’s Coalition (CSPC) gathered at Acacia Park to shut down downtown Colorado Springs, aiming to make it clear that there will be no business as usual during Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people.
Colorado Indigenous Brown Berets endorsed the action to express their support for the Palestinian cause. With inches of snow remaining on the ground from a storm the day before, over 30 protesters came together in the park to speak out against Israel’s relentless attacks on the Palestinian people, the city’s connection with the military-industrial complex, elected officials’ complicity in genocide, and recent racist statements made by local representatives regarding migrants seeking asylum.
Several CSPC members shared moving speeches that called for not only a ceasefire and Palestinian liberation, but also peace and justice for all. Genevieve Richards addressed the United States’ withdrawal of United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) funding, which came not long after the UN’s International Court of Justice ordered Israel to take action to prevent acts of genocide. Richards stated, “With a swipe of his pen, Butcher Biden condemned untold thousands of Palestinians to die of thirst, disease and starvation.”
Speakers addressed the need to divest from the military-industrial complex and put that money into communities instead.
David Bayer of the CSPC called out the hypocrisy of local government, noting that, “Our city council describes the United States as a nation of immigrants, ignoring the indigenous people who were already here, like, but not limited to, our Chicano community.”
After the speeches, the group marched up and down Tejon Street to the offices of Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet, disrupting shopping downtown and demonstrating that Colorado Springs stands for Palestinian liberation and an end to the imperialist war machine.
Along with the messages on their signs and banners, the activists sent chants like, “Anti-war or no support! If you don’t, you’ll lose our vote!” “Free, free Palestine!” and “From Palestine to Mexico, these border walls have got to go!” echoing through downtown. They also had specific words for elected officials and representatives: “Hickenlooper, you can’t hide – we charge you with genocide!” “Michael Bennet, you can’t hide – we charge you with genocide!”
As the protesters began heading back to Acacia Park, they were confronted by the Colorado Springs Police Department officers, who threatened the group with citations if members did not keep the march out of the street and on the sidewalk. Despite this attempt at intimidation, participants finished the march, continuing their chants until they returned to Acacia Park.
If you are interested in learning more about the Colorado Springs People’s Coalition and their work in the Colorado Springs area, check out cspeoplescoalition.org, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram.