#OccupyICE Movement Grows Momentum in Colorado

Centennial, CO – On the morning of Thursday, August 2, 2018, after sustaining an #OccupyICE encampment vigil for almost four days, eight advocates blockaded the two main driveway entrances to the ICE Denver Field Office. Using PVC pipes to connect their arms, the eight participants, who were in two groups of four, successfully held the blockade for seven hours.

There was a rally of more than 100 people coinciding with the blockade, and providing water, food, songs and chants, and support to the blockade participants. The large crowd was met with militarized Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officers and a team fitted for riot control.

Around 6:00pm, a DHS officer began sawing off one PVC pipe at a time with a hand saw (none of the eight participants were injured during the sawing).

After each individual was removed from the PVC pipes, they were cuffed with zip ties and placed into a transport vehicle. Supporters of the blockade participants expected the transport vehicle was heading to the Arapahoe County Detention Center. Instead, the transport vehicle drove a mile down the road and told the eight individuals they could leave after officers wrote up their citations and court summons. However, one of the eight refused to give the police any personal information. The police responded by slamming their head into the vehicle as they forced them back into it to be taken to jail.

The police ended up not booking the person who refused to give any personal information because the police were denied the jurisdiction to book the individual on federal charges. Therefore the police put the individual back into the transport vehicle and dropped them off in a field just before midnight on August 2.

Each participant received a summons to federal court, along with a citation charging them with “unreasonably obstructing the usual use of a parking lot.”

Jeanette Vizguerra, sanctuary movement leader and one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2017, remained at the encampment vigil for its full duration. She spoke with us on the evening of Sunday, July 29, 2018 as the camp was being set up and listed the camp’s three demands:

The first demand is that there are over 50 families here in a GEO ICE Detention Center in Colorado, we want those kids to be reunited with their parents because it is unjust that the government is owning the futures of those families.

And we are also asking them to cease the deportations here in Colorado with families that have already lived here for decades and that are being persecuted like criminals when they are not… The other demand is for better treatment in detention centers for the detained people who are treated in a cruel and horrible manner.”

Unicorn Riot was live documenting a vigil outside the GEO ICE Detention Center in Aurora, Colorado on Monday night, August 6, 2018. You can watch the live coverage below:

Cover Photo Credit: Emily Zeek

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Previous Unicorn Riot Coverage of #OccupyICE:

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