More than a hundred gathered at the front steps of the Denver City and County Building on Monday evening to do what they had planned to do in the first place: speak up at city hall.

Their plans were initially derailed after Denver City Council President Jolon Clark canceled the council's Monday night meeting, without a vote, out of concerns for “health and safety of the public" due to the coronavirus, Stacy Simonet, the council's communications director, stated in a press release late Monday afternoon.

The council’s general public comment sessions have been drawing large crowds since violent clashes broke out between protesters and police in late May, and Simonet said the move was to ensure the “welfare of everyone involved."

Some people, including Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca and protesters who planned to storm the council meeting again Monday, saw Clark's decision as an attempt to stifle free speech. CdeBaca was the only council member to join protesters for a "People's Town Hall" at the City and County Building at 6 p.m., when she urged them to hold power accountable and stay engaged.

Eighteen people spoke on the front steps of the City and County Building, many of whom called for the defunding of police and an end to systemic racism. The demonstration was organized in part by members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and the Afro Liberation Front.

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