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1 arrested after Denver law enforcement appreciation event draws counter-protest

Demonstrators were protesting a pro-law enforcement event at Civic Center.

DENVER — A group of counter-protesters on Sunday afternoon were demonstrating at a law enforcement appreciation event in Civic Center in downtown Denver. 

According to a Facebook event page, the Becker Band hosted a Law Enforcement Appreciation Day for the sixth year, and the family-friendly event was scheduled from 3 to 6 p.m. at Civic Center Park.

A counter-protest organized by Denver Homeless Out Loud, Aurora Copwatch and the Party for Socialism and Liberation - Denver was scheduled to take place from 2 to 5 p.m., also at Civic Center.

Counter-protesters marched from the lawn of the Colorado State Capitol toward the pro-law enforcement event in Civic Center Park shortly after it began.

9NEWS reporter Jordan Chavez said officers were in riot gear forming lines at the front and back of the Civic Center amphitheater.

While the two demonstrations remained mostly peaceful, the collision of the two groups was loud with dueling chats, and a pile of "Make America Great Again" hats along with a blue-line flag was set on fire. 

Most of the law enforcement appreciation event had cleared out by 5 p.m.

"We wanted to go and make noise and make it impossible for them to have the fun, celebratory experience they wanted to have," said Lillian House, one of the counter-protest organizers with Party for Socialism and Liberation - Denver.

Denver Police (DPD) said one person was arrested for assault during the events, and officers used pepper balls and what they called "a handheld dispersant," which DPD told 9NEWS is like pepper spray, on the crowd.

Some people who were there for the pro-law enforcement event bemoaned the lack of DPD's use of force, including attorney and KNUS talk radio host Randy Corporon. In a tweet, he referred to Chief Paul Pazen as "Chief Brazen Coward" and said, "Next time, we won't wait on them."

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