[R-G] 200 protesters arrested at Columbus Day parade
mstainsby at resist.ca
Sun Oct 10 14:52:47 MDT 2004
200 protesters arrested at Columbus Day parade
600 cops keep order amid peaceful demonstration
By Karen Rouse and Monte Whaley
Denver Post Staff Writers
More than 200 protesters were arrested on charges of loitering and
disobeying orders Saturday during a peaceful demonstration against the
annual Columbus Day parade in downtown Denver.
The arrests of 205 adults and 25 juveniles was no surprise. Members of the
American Indian Movement of Colorado, which organized the protest, had
promised that members were prepared to be arrested.
"We're going in the street," AIM member Glenn Morris told protesters on
the steps of the Capitol, where the rally kicked off Saturday morning.
"Those of us prepared to go to jail will stay."
All those arrested were given citations and dates to appear in court, then
About 500 marched against the Columbus Day parade, which was organized by
the Sons of Italy-New Generation.
Protesters argue that Columbus was a rapist who orchestrated the genocide
of thousands of Native American people through colonialism. His name
should be removed from the parade, they said.
But members of the Sons of Italy-New Generation, which obtained a city
permit to hold the parade, said they were within their right to continue
using references to Columbus as they celebrated their Italian heritage.
Parade organizer and Sons of Italy-New Generation founder George Vendegnia
said the protest would not thwart the annual showing of Italian pride.
"It will just get bigger and bigger," he said. "There ain't no stopping us
But he admitted there was frustration that protesters were able to stall
the parade for more than an hour.
The protesters marched from the Capitol, through downtown, and stopped at
19th and Blake streets - the middle of the parade route.
The protesters linked arms and knelt in the street. When they refused
orders to leave, police escorted them to Sheriff's Office buses parked
along 19th Street. Other protesters cheered loudly for each arrest.
The Rev. Reginald Holmes, president of the Greater Denver Ministerial
Alliance, a coalition of black churches, said he was standing alongside
the American Indians because he realizes "there is not much difference
between the reservation and the plantation."
Columbus "should be remembered, not celebrated," he said. "We can't
(celebrate) one who committed genocide for your people and for mine."
Nearly 600 Denver police officers lined the route, many of them dressed in
riot gear. Shortly after 11:30 a.m., with most of the protesters removed,
the parade started.
Others who were not arrested remained along the route, many of them
exchanging insults with participants in the Columbus Day parade.
Vintage cars, motorcycles and silver-haired ladies carrying Italian flags
made their way down Blake Street.
Several who came out to enjoy the parade said they were irritated.
"This is the only parade they pick on, and I'm just getting sick of it,"
said Mickie Lava-Clayton. "When I moved here in 1953 I thought Denver was
a utopia. But not anymore, because Denver has become anti-Italian."
Steve Antonuccio called the protest a "scripted event."
Antonuccio said he supports the Indians' right to protest, "but when they
interfere with our rights to have a parade, that's when I have a problem."
Buoyed by the strong police presence, the parade passed without incident.
In the contradiction lies the hope.
More information about the Rad-Green