October 06, 2007

Columbuspalooza 2007: Violence At Columbus Day Parade In Denver?--Update: Dozens Arrested, Parade Delayed More Than An Hour

**Update--videos of protestors and arrests, Russell Means speaks; more photos

Blood and babies (both fake) in the streets

**Update--Columbus Day 2007: dozens arrested including Glenn Morris and Russell Means; parade delayed over an hour; photos and video have been loaded on their own separate pages--Columbus Day photos part I; Columbus Day videos part I

Media--Glenn Morris and Russell Means interviewed by Caplis and Silverman, later joined by parade organizer George Vendegnia for a contentious exchange--Means: "You're worse than a German!"

9NEWS reports 83 arrested, "most, if not all, of the people arrested will be charged with interference with a parade route and interference with a lawful assembly . . . 10 of the 83 people arrested may face additional charges of resisting arrest."

Denver Post:
Police arrested American Indian Movement leader Russell Means and 83 protesters at today's Columbus Day parade for blocking the route.

But there were no major incidents or violent behavior, police said.
. . .
Glenn Morris, a member of the American Indian Movement of Colorado's leadership council, urged those willing to face jail to block the parade route. Other demonstrators were told to remain on the sidewalk and out of the way of police.

"We can either watch history or we can make history and today we intend to make history," Morris said.
. . .
Protesters sat down in the street to face off with police after Morris poured a bucket of red liquid bearing pieces of dismembered toy dolls.
Rocky Mountain News:
George Vendegnia, one of the organizers of the parade, said the protest and delay was planned for and caused minimal disruption.

"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.

Russell Means--"This is only the beginning, the frustration has reached critical mass"

Organizer Glenn Morris arrested

Protest leader and Ward Churchill lackey Glenn Spagnuolo, also arrested

The inevitable Che t-shirt

Che gets quoted
"This year, we will end it"--Transform Columbus Day/RAIMD

"This holiday is going to die here. The time for talk is over"--Glenn Spagnuolo

". . . an end to the Colum-Bush legacy . . ."--TCM

Slapstick Politics covered the protests in 2006, and Drunkablog was there in 2005. Slapstick's operatives will be at the parade today, check back later for photos/video after the parade. The parade begins at 10 a.m., starts at 15th Street and Court Place, and ends at 14th Avenue and Broadway.

Organizer and CU Denver professor Glenn Morris claims that groups opposing the Columbus Day parade will use "nonviolent, constitutionally protected" methods to oppose the 100th anniversary of the holiday, but a new report indicates that there may be something more than just another "peaceful" protest:
Despite their persistence, the protestors haven't accomplished much in those seventeen years. Morris, a high-ranking member of the American Indian Movement of Colorado, points out that some of the children who attended those early actions with their parents are now adults with kids of their own.

But this protest could be different, and the September 24 meeting was buzzing with anticipation. Heads of various protest "departments" stood to report on everything from the street-medic team (first-aid training was going well) to the squad of legal observers (just look for the bright-green hats). Pamphlets were passed around detailing the legal procedures involved in being arrested, from booking to bonding to trial. It was announced that a private security crew would be provided by Colorado AIM.

One important change this year is that TCD organizers have chosen not to meet with police beforehand to work out the ground rules for peaceful "orchestrated arrests," as they did in 2004. About 240 demonstrators were arrested that year for blocking the parade route by sitting in the streets.

Additionally, because this is the 100-year anniversary of the holiday, hundreds of activists are expected to travel to Denver from San Francisco, New York and severals out-of-state Indian reservations. A few are also flying in from other countries to take part.

Some of those groups may be planning "direct action" confrontations — a clear escalation in the type of engagement TCD has employed in the past. The group's leadership acknowledges that they are undertaking a shift in strategy. Toward what, exactly, no one is willing to say.
Of course what all this means will only be revealed Saturday at the parade.

Denver Post columnist Al Knight notes Denver's mixed response to AIM's strident demands and the rights that the Italian parade organizers are in danger of losing:
It is clear that when it comes to AIM's hatred of the Columbus Day Parade, the law doesn't much matter. The parade protesters are planning to converge on downtown Denver in a show of force before the parade on Oct. 6. However, when asked if they had applied for parade permits, they grandly announced that no permits were necessary because "we are on native land."

This is not just nonsense, it amounts to the purist form of ethnic intimidation, the type that is punishable under state and federal hate-crime laws.
. . .
Columbus may have been less than perfect as a human being, but that is no excuse for denying Italians hundreds of years later the rights of assembly guaranteed under the U.S. and Colorado constitutions.

When and if the Columbus holiday is ended, it will be because the people of Colorado, through their elected representatives, decide to end it, not because CU-Denver professor Glenn Morris and other members of AIM think otherwise.
The Post also cited the new ordinances in its earlier editorial supporting the parade:
Italian-Americans, and anyone who supports the Columbus Day holiday — a federal holiday for more than a generation — have the right to parade, peacefully, through our city streets.

The parade must go forward, but without violence.

American Indians and their supporters have every right to protest the parade, but they should do so without interfering in the activities that so many Coloradans want to enjoy. They should not be able to block the parade from taking place without some consequence.

The City Council in 2005 passed two ordinances that make it illegal for protesters to physically or vocally disrupt lawful assemblies, while prohibiting obstruction of public passageways, such as streets.
AIM and TCD failed in their bid to have the Columbus Day parade renamed, watered down, or abolished.

Even the Colorado Historical Society feels the pressure, as the Colorado History Museum which it runs has pulled the decidedly inflammatory "Homeland Security" t-shirt (including a well-armed Geronimo) so popular with Ward Churchill-types until after Columbus Day because of the stir caused when patrons visiting the popular Italians of Denver exhibit noticed the shirt.

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