Award of Excellence
Craig F. Walker
The Denver Post
Occupy Denver overwhelmed downtown Denver for more than four months, drawing out a raw range of emotions from frustrated protesters, exhausted law enforcement and a public unsure of the group who repeatedly swayed from a united call to action, to a splintered and violent melee. The first tent was pitched in front of the state Capitol in September. In the months that followed, several marches started and ended peacefully, but others spiraled out of control as the group fragmented along different beliefs and eventually imploded. On October 29, 2011, tensions erupted in the most violent exchange between protesters and police, after demonstrators pitched an illegal tent in Civic Center. Several hundred protesters collapsed on fewer than 10 officers attempting to dismantle the tent. A handful of officers and protesters were struggling on the ground by the time officers in riot gear fired pepper spray and pepper balls into the riled mob. The crowd dispersed only to find itself caught in the tense stalemate that followed. Twenty people were arrested.
Vanessa Bartosh joins hundreds of demonstrators in blocking the intersection outside the Federal Reserve building during a weekly Occupy Denver march in Denver, Colo. Earlier that day, Denver Public Works crews distributed fliers around Civic Center that warned those items not voluntarily removed from walkways would be removed by the city.