Massive police response breaks up protest blockade at ICE headquarters in Colorado

Two women protest at ICE detention facility in Aurora, Colo. on Aug. 2, 2018.

CENTENNIAL — Dozens of law enforcement officers, many dressed in full tactical gear, have arrived to break up a protest at ICE’s Colorado headquarters here just south of Denver.

Demonstrators who support abolishing the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency began blockading the two entrances to the ICE field office around 11 a.m. in a protest against family separation and other alleged mistreatment of undocumented people.

As of 7:30 p.m., police had hauled off all eight people who made up the two blockades.

Some of the roughly 40 protestors who remained on scene at that point planned to continue at the encampment outside the field office, while others vowed to go support the blockaders at the Arapahoe County jail, according to an organizer. The blockades included three people who did not give their full names, plus Lee Pedersen, Theo Spain, Colin Moore, Richard Folsom and Julie Bañuelos.

Those who participated in the blockades were not effective in blocking access to the building, however, as police escorted cars out during the afternoon, across the grass next to the parking lot.

A few of their fellow protestors have been camped outside the ICE headquarters since Sunday evening.

By bullhorn and paper handouts, police throughout Thursday afternoon threatened arrests and gave periodic warnings that blocking the two entrances was illegal.

Then, just after 5 p.m., a group of officers about equal in number to the protestors showed up and marched in unison, slowly advancing on demonstrators who had taken to the streets and sidewalks, moving some of them out of the way.

Having earlier linked themselves by their arms with PVC pipes, the blockades formed in front of two separate entrances to the ICE headquarters. In two groups of four, the protesters knew they could be arrested and were comfortable with the potential outcome, said Ana Rodriguez, an organizer with the Denver-based Colorado People’s Alliance.

No one organization is behind this demonstration, said a spokeswoman named Jen Piper. Rather, she said, it’s a diverse group of concerned citizens and groups, including the People’s Alliance, who together call themselves Abolish ICE Denver.

“We’re sick and tired of ICE separating our families and deporting our people,” Rodriguez said. “It’s not just happening at the border — that’s a crisis that really just let the rest of the American people know what’s going on.”

Families have been separated for decades, she said.

“Those decisions are made here at the Denver field office and that’s why we’re here shutting them down, telling them they can’t separate another family,” Rodriguez said. “We’re gonna be here until they get rid of us. We’ll be here until they stop separating families.”

Police draped sheets over the eight individuals creating the blockades, making it difficult for the protestors, members of the press, and other onlooking citizens to observe what they were doing. However, one officer approached the blockade with a hand saw, which could be used to break the pipes connecting the people together.

Several protestors yelled in the officers’ faces as authorities worked to break up the blockade behind the draped sheet.

Even before the large late afternoon police response, myriad officers, including some with Homeland Security and others in military-style get-up, had been keeping close watch.

Some surveyed the scene from nearby rooftops as a chopper hovered overhead.

Photo of Hanna Khavafipour (left) and Elisabeth Epps by Alex Burness 


  1. Mira Dean …
    How about focusing on your own experience rather than an old (2007) chain mail replication?

    Or, how about looking up to see some more realistic figures on any of the claims you would like to make?

    Fact Check says “Because we’re gluttons for punishment, we’ve gone through each claim in turn and report on each in detail farther down. But here are a few highlights (or lowlights) of what we found:”

  2. They can have all the temper tantrums they want but it won’t change the outcome. the United States government and its citizens will not stand for these illegal criminals to cross our borders.

  3. I think it’s great that these protestors took the day off to shut down ICE. Oh wait, for many of them this probably is their day job. Professional protestors are real. They make decent money too, not as much as a top electrician, plumber, or other actual worker, but I hear they often get cash (which I doubt they report) for doing nothing but loafing around.

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