Oct 11, 2010 2:06 PM by David Ortiviz

Columbus Day rally in Pueblo attracts supporters, protesters

Supporters outnumbered protesters at an annual Christopher Columbus Day rally in Pueblo this morning. The federal holiday honors Columbus' trek to America more than 500 years ago. However, some Native Americans say Columbus brought slavery to their people, and they want the holiday abolished.

Monday's annual event was held at the Christopher Columbus statue on Abriendo Ave. in the Mesa Junction neighborhood. Organizers laid a wreath on the statue and several politicians spoke. "We want to keep our heritage," said Rosann Musso, an organizer with the Columbus Day committee. "Without Columbus discovering America we wouldn't have the varies nationalities, the religions and the backgrounds of everybody," said Musso.

The event was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. but it started several minutes earlier, most likely to avoid the anticipated disruptions from protesters. More than a dozen protesters showed up at 10 o'clock on the dot. They walked up to the barricades shouting loudly and banging on drums. "No more Columbus Day," the group chanted.

"I don't think he(Columbus) discovered America, because there were already native people here," said Jose Oretga, with the Abolish Columbus Day Committee. The group also believes Columbus brought slavery and genocide to Native Americans.

Pueblo police officers, including Police Chief Jim Billings were at the event to keep the peace.

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