About 2,000 people angry about possible federal immigration roundups in Denver and across the country protested outside an immigrant detention center in Aurora Friday night -- at one point raising the Mexican flag to the top of one of the poles out front.
Crowds gathered at the center before a candlelight vigil. Protesters packed close to the entrance and raised the Mexican flag and an upside-down American flag with "Abolish ICE" spray-painted on it on the facility's flagpoles.
Local authorities worked quickly to take down the symbols of protest and restore the American flag.
The privately run facility, operated by GEO Group Inc., contracts with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
President Donald Trump says the roundups will begin Sunday, and ICE agents plan to eventually arrest millions of immigrants in the country illegally.
Denver reportedly is one of the cities to be targeted. ICE would not confirm Denver was among the cities due to safety of personnel.
Joe Montoya said he was drawn to the Aurora protest because he is saddened by the images of migrant children being separated from their parents at the border.
"I couldn’t see my children being somewhere like this. I think they should be with their parents, give them a chance to the life they don’t have," he said. "It breaks my heart to see them separated from their parents because I couldn’t imagine my children being separated from me."
"I am here because I have a deep love for my friends in the immigrant community, many who are facing deportation," said Theo Spain, who also joined the protest. "I believe that the whole machine of detainment and deportation is incredibly cruel and unjust and I believe what’s happening surmounts to torture, the splitting of families is unconscionable."
Law enforcement in Aurora said that the protesters largely remained peaceful on Friday evening, even thanking some of the police officers for their work.
Meanwhile, people gathered at Sayre Park in Glenwood Springs for a rally and candlelight vigil Friday as part of the national campaign to call attention to migrant detention centers, the Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported.
The protests in Colorado were among several that occurred across the country on Friday as part of the #LightsForLiberty-organized "March to Close Concentration Camps," which called for the closure of all immigrant detention centers in the U.S. and for the immigrants being held to be granted access into the country.
Protests were also held in California, New York and Oregon.
ICE said in a statement that it will prioritize the arrest and removal of "unlawfully present aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety and border security." The agency also said anyone in violation of immigration laws is subject to arrest and removal from the U.S.
Administration officials have said they're targeting about 2,000 people in the national sweep, which would yield about 200 arrests based on previous crackdowns.
The Associated Press, 9News and Washington Examiner contributed.