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Protests continue over Christopher Columbus monument in downtown Pueblo

Posted at 7:39 PM, Jul 12, 2020

PUEBLO — For the third weekend in a row, protesters and counter-protesters gathered in downtown Pueblo at the Christopher Columbus monument.

It was peaceful Sunday afternoon compared to last weekend. Besides one incident, protesters and counter-protesters stayed on their side of the barricade. There were additional Pueblo police officers and barricades to keep tensions low.

Protesters began the rally with a short march to the Christopher Columbus monument. There were ceremonial drums and dancing.

"People of all races are here, even the Italian community is here," said Tziavii Stevens, protestor.

Protesters against the monument say they've been advocating for it's removal for generations.

"This has been a movement for a long time, my father was protesting against Columbus Day way before I was born," said Stevens.

"We just want it taken to a museum so it can be looked at or glorified the way it is suppose to be or they would like it to be," said Charlotte Perez, protester.

Pueblo County Patriots told News 5 that their group would stay near the end of the street to prevent conflict. They've been holding rallies almost every Saturday to welcome and support the constitution.

The group has recently taken up the position of standing in protection of the monument. They don't necessarily support it, but the law enforcement officers protecting the community.

"Our side of the line stands up for the constitution, stand up for our town and support it," said Christy Fidora, Pueblo County Patriots.

The Patriots say their goal is not to divide Pueblo, but the other side needs to go through the legal or petition process to get the monument removed.

Jonathan Ambler attended the rally, but does not support the monument. He came out in support of support American values and the freedom of speech. He understands that Christoper Columbus isn't the best person to represent the city, but history can't be re-written or changed.

"It's disturbing to think that we are trying to erase history, whether you like that history or not, it is still our history, it's a shared history," said Ambler. "It's important for everyone to remember our history. Now, if you don't want to honor those things, that's fine. But if you erase history and fail to learn from it, you're destined to repeat them."

Protesters against the monument say they don't want to erase or destroy history, but the monument has created a divide and the most common solution would be to preserve it elsewhere.

"We just want it taken to a museum so it can be looked at or glorified the way it is suppose to be or they would like it to be," said Perez.

Another rally is planned for next weekend to protest the monument's removal.