Conservative groups opposed to public health restrictions and vaccines are promoting yet another QAnon-linked rally at the state Capitol this weekend. The event itself is being organized by an anonymous group, Colorado Rising Up, that launched only weeks ago.
Gov. Jared Polis (D-CO) lifted the statewide mask mandate three weeks ago, and there isn’t a coronavirus vaccine requirement for the general public. This is the second set of “Worldwide Demonstrations,” repeating the same anti-vaxx messages initially promoted by QAnon groups on March 20.
“Anti-vaccine protests have been planned all across the world this Thursday,” Newsweek reported at the time, “which appear to be heavily linked to the QAnon movement in all but name.”
The lists of associated groups combine longtime anti-vaxxers such as the Colorado Health Choice Alliance and more recent anti-lockdown groups like Recall Polis.
Also listed with these issue groups is the conservative advocacy organization Independence Institute. Its executive director Jon Caldara recently shared his own experience with COVID and credited having received his first vaccine shot prior to contracting the virus for his relatively mild case.
Independence Institute spokesman Mike Krause says the Institute was unaware of the event until the Colorado Times Recorder’s inquiry and isn’t affiliated in any way.
“II isn’t a sponsor, host group or participant in the rally, or a partner with this outfit, says Krause. “Rather it seems they recognize II as a good pro-freedom resource in Colorado, as do numerous other groups and organizations.”
The organizing group, Colorado Rising Up, is new and anonymous. Its website, created on Apr 19, claims the upcoming event is, just like the one that occurred March 20, part of a “global movement,” and it lists dozens and dozens of other rally locations around the world.
Back in March, approximately 100 maskless people gathered in Boulder to protest COVID restrictions.
The group’s website also directs people to a conspiracy “documentary” called “The Pushback,” produced by Oracle Films. The film, which has been removed from Youtube and other mainstream social media sites for violating their misinformation policies, essentially combines anti-vaxxer interviews with footage of the various March 20 rallies. The company has also released an anti-vaccine movie specifically targeting the COVID-19 vaccines. The site also offers attendees sign ideas such as “Plandemic,” “I Am Not a Lab Rat,” and “You Don’t Need Proof To Know the Truth.”
The group’s Facebook page, which was created April 27, is paying to promote the event.
The language used by the woman in the promotional video and on the group’s page is vague, relying on euphemisms like “freedom to breath” and medical choice along with pseudo-spiritual blather such as “we are the force that ignites life itself.” Organizers first used this softer messaging last summer for the “Save The Children” rallies, which also wrapped QAnon conspiracies in more palatable slogans.
Between the professional website, the promotional videos, and the paid media, someone or some group is spending money to promote this event and push these conspiracy theories. Colorado Rising Up said it would provide a statement via email but as of publication none has been received. This article will be updated with any future response.
Former Republican statehouse candidate Nancy Pallozzi, who works as a political trainer for America First Republicans, one of the state GOP’s newly approved candidate training programs, is promoting and participating in the rally.
Conservative activist Lori Cutunelli, who was one of the leaders of the failed recall of Governor Jared Polis and claims to be launching yet another attempt this year, says she will be speaking at the rally on behalf of both Recall Polis 2021 and its “sister organization,” Citizens for Colorado.