Despite reports, DPD not expecting ‘anything unsafe’ at Parade of Lights

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A float drives down the 2013 Parade of Lights in downtown Denver.

DENVER — Denver Police held an brief press conference Friday afternoon, informing members of the media that despite reports, law enforcement was not expecting “anything unsafe” at the Denver Parade of Lights Friday night.

The press conference was called in part to address reports that there would be a large protest at the parade, which takes a two-mile route through downtown starting at 8 p.m., and culminates in front of the City and Counting Building.

And it seemed police were spot on in regard to Friday, as small groups of protesters were present at the parade but did not cause any disruptions.

“We’re prepared for anything, but we’re not expecting anything specific,” a Denver Police spokesperson Matt Murray said at the Friday afternoon press conference. Murray continued to say police do have “some intelligence” regarding Saturday night, when the Parade of Lights will run for the second time starting at 6 p.m.

“We are aware that there are some groups who have indicated that they may protest – probably at (Saturday’s) parade,” Murray said.

Murray didn’t detail what cause would protesters would be rallying for, but he did say police were not expecting anything unsafe at the parade, in large part because all of the protests in Denver this year have been nonviolent — including recent protests regarding the controversy in Ferguson, Mo. that were relatively mild.

“We have made some arrests,” Murray said. “But mostly they’ve been for things like obstructing traffic.”

Working off a tip received from a military family, who said they had received an automated call from the Department of Defense about a “credible” terrorist threat at the parade, FOX31 Denver also reached out to Buckley Air Force base.

Officials responded, saying they also received a message about the parade and that it was “no different from any messages regarding protests around town.”

“It is a reminder we need to do what we can to stay safe and avoid precarious situations,” the spokesperson added.

Ultimately, Murray said, Denver Police had heard nothing about protests or threats from the federal government, and they were not suggesting anyone avoid the parade.

“We’re asking folks to come down, have a good time and if you see something that makes you concerned, make sure to let an officer know,” Murray said. “Other than that, we anticipate an event much like other years, with the possibility of a protest at some point.”

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