PUEBLO — For the sixth week in a row, dozens of protesters gathered in the Mesa Junction to protest the removal of the Christopher Columbus monument.
Business owners in the area say the protests have caused a negative impact to their bottom line. Heather Graham, the owner of Ruby's, has had to close her restaurant every Sunday due to the protests, causing her to lose thousands of dollars in profits.
"This is not our fault that is where the statue is and this is where our businesses are. Why are you punishing us, we have been punished enough, " said Graham.
She says local business owners are not concerned over the fate of the monument, but continue to be impacted by it,
"Move the statue, take it down, we don't care but we have already been so affected with what's been going on with COVID for the last six months," said Graham. "We are just trying to make money and keep our businesses alive."
On Saturday, there was a surprise protest held on Abriendo Avenue. Graham says the protest prompted Pueblo police to alert surrounding businesses. She decided to open but protesters swarmed the streets since there were no barricades in place.
"It was very loud, they were screaming at the police that they were cowards and the police just stood there respectful," said Graham.
She says officers have helped keep businesses in the area safe.
"They sit in our parking lot, we'll have unmarked ones sit out on our patio, hang out all day. They want to protect our stuff," said Graham.
She says the protests have really hindered her business, but especially the businesses closer to the monument. Some of them have decided to band together and talk to the city. They're looking for one thing.
"A resolution. If they're going to take it down, let's get it down and put it in a museum. If they want another statue put up next to it, let's get that done," said Graham.
Graham says she wants a peaceful compromise so small businesses can open their doors on Sunday again.