Photos: Massive crowd rallies at ICE detention center in Aurora

More than 1,000 were present

Protesters on July 12, 2019, lower the GEO Group's flag outside the ICE detention center that GEO owns and operates in Aurora. The facility and the company have been embroiled in nearly nonstop controversy for months. (Photo by Cullen Lobe)

Editor’s note: This photo story has been updated with statements from the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition and the Boulder County Democratic Socialists of America. 

Hundreds gathered in Aurora Friday evening to protest immigrant detention at the border and across the country — including at the ICE detention center in Aurora, which is run by the private prison company GEO Group. Friday’s events began with a “March to Close The Concentration Camps,” organized by democratic socialists, among other activists. Their walk stretched down Peoria Street toward the GEO facility.

(Photo by Cullen Lobe)

At the GEO detention center, the march converged with another gathering, called “Lights for Liberty,” a global rally and call to action protesting the government’s treatment of migrants. Between the two groups, there were more than 1,000 people present. Facing the detention center from the street, people chanted and some immigrant rights advocates and lawyers offered speeches.

(Photo by Cullen Lobe)

Some in the crowd moved onto the GEO facility’s property. Those pictured here are facing the rest of the crowd. There was a prayer ceremony led by indigenous activists. Chants and speeches continued.

(Photo by Cullen Lobe)

A massive crowd flooded the street and sidewalks outside the GEO facility.

(Photo by Cullen Lobe)

At one point, some in the crowd rushed to the front of the building. Two young people lowered the GEO Group flag. Cheers intensified.

(Photo by Cullen Lobe)

There was some tension between certain individuals in the two groups that came together Friday evening. Some remained behind a makeshift barrier set up by event organizers, while other, more radical protestors roved about the property. Eventually, the barrier was dismantled.

(Photo by Cullen Lobe)

Protestors not only took down the GEO flag, but also the facility’s American flag and Colorado flag. They replaced these three with, from left, the Mexican flag; an upside-down and spray painted “thin blue line” American flag tagged with “Abolish ICE”; and a third, custom flag with artwork and the message, “f*** cops.”

The actions were condemned by immigrant rights groups, including the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, which on Saturday issued a statement saying, in part: “We unequivocally denounce the actions of rogue protestors who stormed the for-profit detention camp and replaced the American flag with the Mexican flag yesterday. These protestors put the undocumented families who were attending a peaceful vigil at the same location in danger of being arrested and caused harm to the immigrant rights movement.”

The Boulder County Democratic Socialists of America on Sunday responded to its critics by saying that “the protection of undocumented people is of highest importance,” to it, and that, instead, the actions of a Lights of Liberty organizer posed a greater threat. “Immigrants and people of color live under the constant threat of violence from police,” the statement said, and, at one point, an organizer told the crowd that Aurora Police had ordered the group to disperse, prompting many to leave. (The Aurora Police chief told the Aurora Sentinel that he never ordered such a dispersal.)

As for the flags, the statement continued, the action was spontaneous and carried out by a “cross-section” of protestors.  “Using respectability politics to denounce actions taken by and alongside impacted immigrants and people of color is shameful, divisive, and plays into the hands of authorities who prefer a quiet and complacent public. Legality and morality are not synonymous, and no movement against authoritarian policy can be successful if individuals are unnerved by simple and peaceful civil disobedience.”

 

(Photo by Cullen Lobe)

As night fell, the large group remained and held a candlelight vigil to, in the words of Lights for Liberty organizers, “shine a light on the horrific abuses of the Trump administration in human detention camps.” The crowd dispersed peacefully around 9 p.m.

(Photo by Cullen Lobe)

23 COMMENTS

  1. Would the reporter please define and credit his term of “democratic socialists? I know that inter-denominational faith groups were part of this demonstration. Are they included under the writer’s “democtratic socialist” cite? I ask because that has recently become an incendiary term promoted by one political party in denigration against democratic presidential candidates.

    • Hi, Sue – I was there. There were some great interdenominational faith groups there – my group sang with one of them as we were leaving the protest. At least one of the groups there defined themselves as Dem Socialists – even saw some t-shirts. They did appear to be the ones with the flags – some were wearing Anonymous masks. Here is the FB event from that group that was separately organized from the Light even (with clear Democratic Socialist support- mostly out of Boulder): https://www.facebook.com/events/2342949639146520/

      • How would you describe the protesters reaction, if any, when the American flag was taken down and replaced with the Mexican flag?

  2. You’re mistaken. As usual.

    The American flag wasn’t replaced.

    It was turned upside down…as it should be in these times.

  3. Do you read the column before you comment? Maybe you shouldn’t comment after 10:00 pm.

    “Protestors not only took down the GEO flag, but also the facility’s American flag and Colorado flag. They replaced these three with, from left, the Mexican flag; an upside-down and spray painted “thin blue line” American flag tagged with “Abolish ICE”; and a third, custom flag with artwork and the message, “f*** cops.””

    If you have any problems understanding the above quote ask a 5th grader.

    If that doesn’t work examine the above picture. They say it’s worth a thousand words, here’s four of those words, “You’re mistaken.. As usual”

    • In the name calling spirit of jay..You can’t argue with a “Doo Doo head” Let it go Sir.. A man lost his life in Tacoma due to this nonsense, and the Aurora cop’s were absent by not protecting private property..Where do we go from here..? Going to get worse I fear after Trump’s re election “Keep yer powder dry”

  4. Those who chose to disrespect the American flag in such a boorish manner will remain in the forefront of people’s minds. I guess this is what happens when you allow anybody at random to join your group, and I believe it’s a metaphor for open borders.

  5. They didn’t replace the American flag with a Mexican one.

    Again…our flag should be flown upside down right now.

    Complicit?

  6. Just curious … any established / formal groups claiming responsibility for the flag action? Any individuals willing to identify themselves as using the tactic?

  7. There are people who lack the ability to accept facts, no matter how inconvenient or at odds with your current viewpoint.

    For example, there are some people who refuse to accept the fact that after the protests at the GEO detention center there was a Mexican flag flying in front of the facility despite having pictures to prove it.

    But the inability to accept facts doesn’t stop there. Before protests at the GEO detention center there was no defaced American flag flying in front of the facility. After the protest there was and there are pictures to prove it.

    So, to recap: Before the protest, no Mexican flag. After the protest, a Mexican flag. Before the protest, no defaced American flag. After the protest, a defaced American flag.

    Yet, amazingly, despite visual evidence some people not only refuse to accept the fact that after the protests there was a Mexican flag flying in front of the GEO detention center but they applaud a defaced American flag.

    Political blindness.

    ***********************

    No conspiracy
    No collusion
    No impeachment

  8. So we’re clear….despite the whining and Pravda propaganda…you were mistaken when you said that “the American flag was taken down and replaced with the Mexican flag”.

    That’s a falsehood. The American flag was not replaced with the Mexican flag. The flag for the prison for profit tribe was replaced with the Mexican flag.

    That makes you a liar. A few times over by my count.

    Next time maybe just admit the mistake instead of throwing a tantrum and practicing futile equivocations, mkay?

    I’m proud to say that I stand with the Jews protesting and saying never again in front of these facilities all over the country.

    How about you?

    My guess is that history will judge folks about the same at this time around.

  9. Calm down or you’ll get a spanking.

    So you do admit the Mexican flag was raised by protesters! Congratulations!!

    See, that didn’t hurt did it?

    Now all you have to do is admit that protesters defaced the American flag. I strongly condemn any group that would deface the American flag.

    How about you?

    You do know what the American flag looks like, right?

    Do you support the custom flag the protesters raised with “artwork” and the message, “f*** cops”. I think I already know the answer but maybe you’ll surprise me.

    **********************
    No conspiracy
    No collusion
    No impeachment

  10. Comrade Don, you’re confusing me with someone else. I simply pointed out that you…like many far right wing folks on Faux News and the tinfoil laden radio waves…lied about the demonstrators “replacing” the American flag with the Mexican one.

    Nothing more, nothing less. The rest of your rantings that you’ve attributed to me are…wait for it…lies.

    I can see why you’re a Trump supporter. You guys speak the same language.

    About hanging the flag upside down….It’s more than an appropriate response.

    It’s well within their rights to deface the flag, regardless of what we think.

    Free speech and all.

    Regarding their attitude toward law enforcement…I think we can all agree that there are good cops and bad cops, therefore, maybe they should have clarified for you snowflakes….”F#ck Bad Cops”

    Who can’t get behind that sentiment?

    In the age of Commandant Chumpsky, I should probably confirm you are aware that you can try to make your points without the lying and the tantrums, right?

    Keep up the Pravda dissemination and you may get the Order of Lenin!

  11. “I simply pointed out that you…lied about the demonstrators “replacing” the American flag with the Mexican one.”

    Lied is a rather strong accusation. When I said protesters had replaced the American flag with the Mexican flag I was quoting from the above article—-you should read it sometime. Here’s the full quote, “The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition issued a statement saying, in part: “We unequivocally denounce the actions of rogue protestors who stormed the for-profit detention camp and replaced the American flag with the Mexican flag yesterday.”

    So it would appear your argument, flimsy as it is, isn’t with me but rather with the CIRC who—at least according to you—-lied in reporting that, “rogue protestors…..replaced the American flag with the Mexican flag.

    But I applaud your candor in admitting that you support defacing the American flag. It provides a lot of context to your comments. A lot of context.

    A picture is worth a thousand words and the picture of a Mexican flag flying next to an American flag that has been defaced by protesters says a lot about what the protest was about and who the protesters are. And if that doesn’t the custom flag the protesters raised with “artwork” and the message, “f*** cops” should.

    The Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition realizes the harm that picture can do even if you can’t. The CIRC issued a statement saying, in part: “We unequivocally denounce the actions of rogue protestors who stormed the for-profit detention camp and replaced the American flag with the Mexican flag yesterday.”

    The article’s author says, “Cheers intensified” when the GEO group flag was lowered but makes no mention of the crowd’s reaction when the American flag was lowered and defaced or when the Mexican flag was raised.

    But you don’t need a vivid imagination to figure that out.

    Hey, how’s the plan to repeal the Electoral College coming along?

    **************************

    “At this point, (President)Trump has won a huge political victory — there’s really no argument there — and Democrats and other anti-Trumpists who thought (the Mueller Report) would somehow lead to Trump’s impeachment and then removal from office have to re-examine all their premises.”

    No conspiracy
    No collusion
    No impeachment

  12. I’m not sure that pointing out that you lied is “showing my belly”. That sounds suspiciously like another falsehood.

    Of course I stand with the majority of Americans in opposition to the electoral college.

    It was the cause of the only time in modern history that a loser of the popular vote was “elected” in this country. W of course also lost the popular vote, but was anointed when the conservatives in the SC intervened and supported the vote tally.

    Why in the world would you support a system that overturns the will of the majority of voters in a national election? Why not fix a bug in the system unless you’re exploiting it?

    But then, a lot of the minority positions held by Trumpster’s Pravda Footsoldiers don’t quite make sense…as you and I have confirmed over the years, no?

    So now that I’ve answered some of your queries, back to that pesky question from which you’re still hiding…why stand in opposition to the Jews protesting “never again” in front of these detention facilities?

    Does it ever get old being on the wrong side of history?

  13. You just lied!

    You didn’t answer any of my questions including my last one so I’ll ask it again: Hey, how’s the plan to repeal the Electoral College coming along?

    The fact that the Electoral College is still the law of the land brings into question your claim that the majority of Americans oppose the Electoral College.

    It would seem those who supported Mrs. Clinton are on the wrong side of history. Don’t you think?

    Or the author of these unhinged remarks who thought special counsel Robert Mueller would find President Trump guilty of treason. The author is not only on the wrong side of history but on the wrong side of sanity. I’m sure you’ll agree.

    —– “With Russia’s help, one of their agents posing as a politician was able to exploit a weakness in our electoral system for the first time in modern history to get “elected” by a minority of voters*. Your support for this treasonous act is why you are no longer able to wear the colors with honor not to mention why Mueller is about to take a giant dump on Trump and the complicit members of the Republican party.”

    —– “Once again we have evidence that (our) president has committed treason and should be impeached along with his minions and jailed for a long time. I am listening to his clown Spice right now who is trying like hell to somehow come up with some kind of excuse for the treason committed by dot and mike p. No such luck.”

    —– “So when do the Treasonous Trumpets get their Scarlet T’s? “

    —– “Trump the Traitor will always have an asterisk next to his name. As will his supporters. I imagine those loyal to the crown suffered a similar fate when our country was founded. His ilk are simply the latest version of the Tories…and will be held by history with the same disdain. A just punishment for treason. Among other things.”

    —– “The final word of the day is Treason. That’s the charge that Mattie was trying to avoid by pulling the fire alarms as he ran from the building. Treason or treasonous…as in Republicans on Capitol Hill have been treasonous and are now going to start eating their own.”

    —– “Republicans have been there before after all…but when you add treason and sedition, well…It’s best if everyone knows that about them right?”

    —– “They want us all to go along with the Donald like this is how America operates. SINCE WHEN? This is TREASON, folks, and EVERYTHING that the Donald does is and should be suspect.”

    —– “But that is what the folks who brought us the War of Treason want – no Federal government or regulation from the Federal government.”

    —– “If Mueller and his team of bloodhounds keep going…you’re full of sh!t, just like your traitorous president”

    **************************
    “At this point, (President)Trump has won a huge political victory — there’s really no argument there — and Democrats and other anti-Trumpists who thought (the Mueller Report) would somehow lead to Trump’s impeachment and then removal from office have to re-examine all their premises.”

    No conspiracy
    No collusion
    No impeachment

  14. So….are you going to run like a scolded child after another spanking or are you going to share why you stand in opposition to the Jews chanting “never again” in front of these facilities all over the country?

    You might as well take a shot at it…you can’t do any more damage to your credibility here..

  15. Are you serious?

    You still haven’t explained why the Electoral College is still the law of the land when you continue to whine about how many people dislike it.

    You do remember that, right? Although you whine so frequently you may have forgotten.

    You can’t hide like a 5trh grader regardless of how often you continue to try.

    Is your last name McCormick?
    **************************
    “At this point, (President)Trump has won a huge political victory — there’s really no argument there — and Democrats and other anti-Trumpists who thought (the Mueller Report) would somehow lead to Trump’s impeachment and then removal from office have to re-examine all their premises.”

    No conspiracy
    No collusion
    No impeachment

  16. What in the world are you babbling about now?

    You get called out for lying about this issue then throw a tantrum and then refuse to talk about the issue any longer. Now all you are doing is chasing your own strawmen.

    Sure seems like you’re back under the bridge, Comrade Don.

    Sigh…I really thought you were making progress.

  17. What am I babbling about? Seriously?

    You do remember telling the world how unpopular the Electoral College was, right? And yet it’s still the law of the land. How do you explain that? If you can’t explain it then do what you always do when you can’t explain any of your, well, zany views: lie.
    Your continued silence, your continued efforts to evade the question strongly suggests you’ve been caught in yet another lie. Just admit it. The truth will set you free. You do remember the truth, right?

    You can’t hide like a 5trh grader forever although you continue to try.

    Is your last name McCormick?
    **************************
    “At this point, (President)Trump has won a huge political victory — there’s really no argument there — and Democrats and other anti-Trumpists who thought (the Mueller Report) would somehow lead to Trump’s impeachment and then removal from office have to re-examine all their premises.”

    No conspiracy
    No collusion
    No impeachment

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