Peaceful protest greets parade
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OCTOBER 9, 2000

On Saturday, more than 140 American Indian activists and their supporters were arrested for holding an anti-Columbus Day protest in Denver, Colorado.

Some in the city were fearing the worst, but Saturday's protest was a peaceful event. An estimated 500 men, women, and children gathered in downtown Denver in an attempt to block the first parade held in the city since 1991.

But the parade went on after an approximately one hour delay in which police removed and arrested protesters. All voluntarily agreed to be detained.

Along the route, parade participants were met by jeers from the remaining protesters. The parade itself lasted about a half an hour.

In total, some 147 protesters were arrested. All were charged with misdemeanor violations, including actor Russell Means, who recently appeared in a Nebraska court for his involvement in a protest in 1999.

An agreement brokered by the Department of Justice led to the non-violent confrontation on Saturday. Italian-American leaders promised to remove all references to Columbus in their parade, but changed their mind last week and broke the deal.

Leaders of the American Indian Movement of Colorado called it another in a long line of broken promises.

The city of Denver itself dedicated some 475 police officers to the event, with an additional 27 sheriff's deputies on overtime from the county of Denver. Some $100,000 was spent in barricades and police pay.

Talks between American Indian, Hispanic, and Italian-American leaders are expected to continue. Members of the religious community organized last minute meetings on Thursday and Friday and the parties promised to meet again to discuss the future of the parade.

More on the Parade:
Columbus Day parade and protest pictures (The Denver Rocky Mountain News 10/7)
Columbus Day parade and protest video (The Denver Rocky Mountain News 10/7)
Columbus Day parade and protest audio (The Denver Rocky Mountain News 10/7)

Related Stories:
Indian and Italian leaders talking (The Talking Circle 10/6)
Italians claim oppression (The Talking Circle 10/4)
Protest expected at Columbus parade (The Talking Circle 10/3)
Columbus parade approved (The Talking Circle 10/2)
Colorado group to keep Columbus name (The Talking Circle 9/29)