Tensions rise, arrests made during protest over Pueblo's Columbus statue

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 6:30 AM MDT
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One statue, two very different sides in Pueblo Sunday.

"He represents nothing but murder."

"You don't have a right just to come in and tear something down."

For some, Pueblo's longstanding Christopher Columbus statue glorifies the worst of North America's history.

"It represents a lot of slaughter and annihilation and suppression," said Jennifer Lunde.

Lunde was among a throng of protesters Sunday calling for the third weekend straight that the statue to be removed. The statue currently stands prominently in the center of Abriendo Avenue in front of the Rawlings Library.

That group squared off with counterprotesters arguing in favor of keeping the statue where it is.

"They need to understand they just can't go around tearing our public property down. It doesn't belong to them," said Allen Sibole.

Tensions escalated Sunday, culminating with an arrest when one protester allegedly tried to incite a riot.

Statues of Columbus have been toppled across the country as the U.S. grapples with a reckoning of its historical treatment of minorities. Colorado -- the first state to celebrate Columbus Day -- abolished the holiday earlier this year, exchanging it for Frances Xavier Cabrini Day to honor an Italian-American nun who started several charitable organizations in Colorado.

Statues honoring Columbus have remained in some Colorado communities, including one in Denver before protesters tore it down late last month.

The fate of Pueblo's statue remains unclear, but both sides say they don't plan to stop holding rallies anytime soon.

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