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Protesters disrupt Columbus Day parade: 80 arrested

Denver, Colorado (AP) 10-07

Protesters blocked the city’s Columbus Day parade route Oct. 6, pouring a bucket filled with fake blood and dismembered baby dolls onto the street as police arrested 83 people.

At least 10 people face charges of resisting arrest, but most are accused of blocking a parade route or interfering with peaceful assembly, Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson said. No serious injuries were reported.

Denver’s parade, which was started in 1907, has a history of arrests and confrontations between supporters and detractors of Christopher Columbus. Protesters have called him a slave trader who touched off centuries of genocide and oppression against native peoples. Supporters say that he was a brave explorer who opened a new world and that the parade is an American holiday to be celebrated.

Colorado in 1905 became the first state to officially observe Columbus Day, which later became a federal holiday. Columbus Day is being federally observed on Monday.

The parade through downtown Denver was delayed about an hour. The protest and delay were anticipated and caused minimal disruption, said George Vendegnia, a parade organizer.

“With this protest, it’s just motivating people more to be back next year and exercise their right to participate in an American holiday,” Vendegnia said.

Among those arrested were American Indian Movement activist Russell Means and Glenn Morris, an associate professor of political science at the University of Colorado. They did not immediately return messages.
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