DENVER — As drums and chants echoed in the background, demonstrators briefly staged a mock death scene in the street today before a Columbus Day Parade passed by.
About 15 people laid down in an intersection before the parade was in view. Other protesters covered them with blankets and carried them away just before police moved in to make arrests.
Some protesters spilled red liquid to signify blood. Others held banners reading "Genocide," "Columbush" and "1492."
University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill, who caused a nationwide uproar when he likened some Sept. 11 victims to Nazis, was standing along the parade route. He said earlier in the week he wouldn't participate in the protest as he has in the past because he didn't want to be a distraction.
Churchill was among about 240 people arrested last year for disrupting the parade. He and other protest leaders were acquitted and the charges against the rest were dismissed.
Glenn Morris, a member of AIM's Colorado chapter, said protesters avoided arrest this year.
"It served no purpose to tie up our people in the courts," he said. Instead, the police and parade became part of the protesters' street theater, Morris said.
He said the demonstrators who laid on the street represented Indians exterminated since the arrival of Columbus, the people carrying them away on stretchers were the survivors honoring their ancestors and the police cleaning up the red liquid were authorities erasing history.
As the parade rolled by, protesters chanted "Celebrate pride, not genocide" and "Shame, shame." Some held up large mirrors with signs that read "This is what genocide looks like."
Two women in the parade stopped at a lower downtown intersection clotted with protesters and held up a placard with the words "This is what free speech looks like."
From the Rocky Mountain News.