Sophie Scholl: Aurora needs to leave protest laws alone

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We at Abolish ICE Denver ask Aurora constituents to call & email council members; we the people must urge our council members to vote “no” on any changes made to ordinances surrounding picketing & protesting in residential areas.

Voting for this ordinance change was supposed to have happened during the Nov 18 meeting, but voting didn’t make the agenda for adoption.

This means that the new members on city council may be able to kill this prohibition on picketing and assembly in the near future.

Protests like the one at GEO Warden Johnny Choate’s home, rarely pose a threat to public safety. However, our protests *do* pose a threat to public indifference to injustice. And that is what Councilwoman Francoise Bergan and the City of Aurora seek to protect by making changes in ordinances- you seek to protect indifference to the concentration camp and police lynchings in our city.

The city’s claim that this ordinance change is about “public safety” is so cynical. When we protested at Choate’s neighborhood, the only threat to public safety was posed by the Aurora Police.

APD were the ones that came ready to make war, with what amounted to an extravagant military parade on sleepy suburban streets.

We came “armed” with posters, angry voices, whistles, a trumpet and a drum. The police came armed with guns, night sticks and riot gear.

The police were the ones who behaved badly that night as well by preventing our march’s free passage through the neighborhood, kettling protestors on the sidewalk and charging at protesters with police motorcycles. One protester was targeted and violently pulled out of a car.

Shame on Bergan, who has somehow found the political will to limit free speech, protect sprinkler systems and protect flowerbeds but cannot find the political will to help the undocumented humans living in the squalid Aurora concentration camp.

Sprinkler systems and flower beds would have remained intact had APD not pushed our legal protest out of the street; the current ordinance allows for pickets to be moving and to take up half of the street.

Why APD did not let us exercise our first amendment rights in the street is a question that remains unanswered.

Additionally, over $200,000 has been spent to in overtime pay to police just two Abolish ICE Denver protests this summer, according to a story by Sentinel Colorado.

Imagine if the City of Aurora spent $200,000 on detention bonds to free the people suffering the conditions inside GEO; the protests would stop!

We call on the people of Aurora and City Council representatives to not revise any ordinances surrounding picketing in residential neighborhoods, given that police lynchings of unarmed black men and concentration camps are going to continue in our city.

We also call on all the people of Aurora to take steps toward freeing the prisoners and asylum seekers and to also take steps toward making Aurora a Sanctuary City for undocumented families by limiting the powers of ICE and local police.

— Sophie Scholl, Abolish ICE Denver. The groups supports for the abolition of ICE, and members demand its removal from our cities. Members say they are a peaceful, non-violent community in protest