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Jul 7, 20

Pueblo, CO: Community Faces Down Proud Boys, Bikers at Christopher Columbus Statue Protest

Report back on anti-colonial demonstration against Christopher Columbus that also saw antifascists facing off against Proud Boys, Trump supporters, and bikers. 

photo via @nogoodchuck

On Sunday, July 5th, 2020 anti-colonial demonstrators gathered in Pueblo Colorado at the Christopher Columbus statue that has been standing since 1905. In that time the local Indigenous community has worked to have this monument to genocide removed. With renewed calls for racial justice across the country, youth organizers in Pueblo have reignited this decades long battle. A Maoist group, For the People Colorado, put out a call to mobilize, but they were in no way the leaders of the event. This is was an autonomous initiative organized by members of the community.

 

The event was scheduled to begin at noon but opposition showed up around 10am. A small number of antifascists made their way over to the statue where they encountered Proud Boys and various other far-Right counter-protesters. As words were exchanged, Pueblo Colorado Proud Boy Dean Daniel Van Zandt Jr. decided he didn’t like mean words and shoved an antifascist who then defended themselves against this assault. Dean then began spraying bear mace at several community members including the one he had assaulted. The antifascist was able to successfully defend themselves however in the midst of this confrontation other white supremacists present joined in and one wearing an orange shirt put a revolver to the antifascists stomach when it became clear they were not going to stop this individual from defending themselves. Comrades successfully broke the fight up and defused the situation.

Counter-protesters, including members of Sons of Silence MC

Around noon community members showed up in large numbers. Opposition leaders tried desperately to rally as many people as they could but were ultimately sorely outnumbered. They did manage to bring in four out of town members of the Proud Boys, a far-Right and pro-Trump street gang with deep connections to white nationalists and various out of town racist motorcycle club members. A brief prayer circle led by Indigenous elders kicked off the official start of the event. The Pueblo police department put up police tape to separate demonstrators and 6-8 police stood in between the groups at any give time with most facing the antifascists.

Around 2:30pm two Pueblo police officers were seen coming around the block at a fast pace while pointing someone out and saying into a radio we have eyes on him. As they approached the crowd an officer in between the demo grabbed an antifascist in bloc and the two coming from behind began trying to take them down. Community members unsuccessfully attempted to de-arrest this individual who was slammed to the ground, hand cuffed, and carried off by 4 police officers. The given reason at the time of the arrest was that this person had tampered with the police tape and their yelling was inciting a riot. Video evidence does not support this claim. This person was held at the Pueblo county jail for four hours, ticketed, and released only after demanding to be released as the police were attempting to keep them because cops claimed no one was waiting outside to pick them up. Local organizations have already begun legal support for this individual.

As the event carried on community members successfully and passionately held their ground. During this time one counter protester exposed his genitals to the crowd which included children. Another man made made a gun hand gesture at the crowd indicating he’d shoot each community member one by one while threatening to kill and rape the women in the crowd. As the demo began to wind down while leaving the event another counter protester drove by a small child with his door open yelling at her, again police stood by and watched all of this. Anti-colonial demonstrators outlasted the white supremacist group and the event ended around 8pm.

Community members have made it clear, these demonstrations will continue until that symbol of genocide is removed from it’s pedestal. City officials could easily end this but are choosing not to. The people will be out in front of this genocide statue every single Sunday at noon in Pueblo and we encourage anyone who stands against white supremacy and colonization to join us.

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