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Denver police closing streets near Colorado Convention Center ahead of Global Conference for Israel event

14th Street will be closed thru traffic between Stout and Welton Streets “to ensure safety,” according to Denver police
Downtown Denver
Posted at 12:12 PM, Nov 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-30 12:28:52-05

DENVER – Denverites who work downtown or who plan to be near the city center over the next few days will need to adjust their commutes to avoid delays as Denver police plans to shut down several streets “to ensure safety” ahead of a four-day gathering of prominent Jewish leaders and supporters of Israel at the Colorado Convention Center.

While only referencing “several large events” happening downtown over the next several days, Denver police said in a news release Wednesday that the closures along a portion of 14th Street between Stout and Welton streets near the Colorado Convention Center would take place between 6 a.m. Thursday to about 8 p.m. Sunday.

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The Global Conference for Israel, which has become the latest focal point of reaction locally to Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip – which it launched in response to Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israeli soil – coincides with the timing of the closures along 14th Street and is expected to attract around 2,500 people to downtown Denver starting Thursday.

The Colorado Palestine Coalition is calling for activists to “shut down” the event with marches and rallies planned outside the convention center and around downtown for the next few days.

“This weekend, another warmonger Democrat - Governor Jared Polis - is giving a speech at the JNF's Global Conference for Israel, welcoming Zionists to our city to fundraise and plan further genocide on Palestine,” states a post on the group’s Instagram page. “The community will be there, too, to #shutdownjnf.”

The planned protests are the latest among several pro-Palestine demonstrations that have occurred in Denver, with the most recent one taking place downtown Tuesday night during President Joe Biden’s visit for a fundraising campaign event.

"We've seen protests across the country. We have to be aware of that," Ron Werner, vice president of the Jewish National Fund USA national board, the organization that's behind this weekend's conference told Denver7 Wednesday. "I can tell you we have serious security protocols in place, because security is always critical to us — for all of our people. We welcome voices and democracy. ... Let your voice be heard. But do it peacefully. Don't attack others. Let's keep this nicer."

The director of the Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC), an organization that includes representatives of 40 of the largest Jewish communal organizations in the state and a mandate to advocate on behalf of community needs, condemned what he called "repeated calls by anti-Israel groups to negatively impact" this weekend's conference.

"We object to the way the Jewish National Fund has been portrayed, said Dr. Dan Leshem, Director of the JCRC in a statement to Denver7 Thursday. "JEWISHcolorado and the JCRC, in partnership with our many community organizations call on all organizations for peaceful and respectful interactions as we work to observe individual rights to be heard."

Despite the increased security and the planned pro-Palestine demonstrations, Gov. Polis will be in attendance and speak during the conference, his spokesperson said in an email to Denver7 Thursday.

The other event happening inside the convention center over the weekend is the 2023 USA Volleyball Mountain Classic Boys Junior National Qualifier, which made its debut in Salt Lake City last year. It goes from Friday through Sunday.

Two blocks of downtown Denver to be shut down for Global Conference for Israel

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