Rainbow Family gathering in Colorado: Thousands arrive and the arrests have already started

Just weeks after the controversial Rainbow Family of Living Light settled on a location for their 50th anniversary gathering, the arrests, citations and warnings are already well underway, according to federal officials.

The gathering – described by Vice as a “weird version of burning man” – is scheduled between July 1 and July 7 at Adams Park in the Routt National Forest near Craig, but people began showing up from across the country days in advance. As of Thursday, about 4,100 people were already on site, Hilary Markin, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service, said. About 10,000 people are expected to attend in total.

Law enforcement officials expressed concern about the gathering months ago and already they’re confronting some members of the Rainbow Family. Markin told the Steamboat Pilot & Today that by Monday law enforcement had issued 91 “enforcement actions.”

By Wednesday she told The Denver Post that number grew to 191.

Those enforcement actions include damage to natural resources, narcotics possession or distribution, aggravated assault on a peace officer and a felon in possession of a firearm.

For comparison, the Rainbow Family’s gathering last year in New Mexico, yielded a total of about 600 enforcement actions, Markin said.

So the number of law enforcement encounters is expected to increase with each passing day, Markin said. Up to 500 new people are arriving to the site each day and some will stay for weeks to help clean up the area.

Rainbow Family gatherings often pair with drug use and sometimes sexual assault, past reports indicate. However, many members bristle at those depictions. Past meetings in Colorado led to an increase of illegal camping and trespassing charges. Seven members faced fines more than a decade ago after police found them sleeping on the roof of the Boulder Public Library.

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