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Protesters Gather For Annual Columbus Day Parade In Bloomfield

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - The annual Columbus Day Parade in Bloomfield was met with protesters. Shortly after the parade stepped off, a group with a banner that said, "this is stolen land" jumped in front of the parade route.

None of the protestors wanted to talk, but Kalen Tierney with the anti-racism group What's Up Pittsburgh said we should not be celebrating Christopher Columbus.

"By honoring Columbus, we're not telling the true story of him setting in motion the transatlantic slave trade and a massive genocide of native people," she said.

According to parade organizer Guy Costa, the parade committee looked at changing the name but decided to keep the current one. They plan to do so as long as Columbus Day is a federal holiday.

"They feel that if you eliminate Christopher Columbus Day, you're taking something away from the Italian-American community," he said before the parade.

The protest remained peaceful as the group stopped the parade for a few moments before walking along, almost as if they were part of the parade.

"This is a time for Italian-Americans to celebrate their heritage. We also have other ethnic groups in our parade," Costa said.

Tierney agrees with celebrating the culture. She just recommends finding a less controversial figure.

"Why not honor an Italian who has not a complicated legacy but one who is a brilliant person who has an uncomplicated legacy, like Leonardo Da Vinci?" she said.

Costa told KDKA people have the right to protest peacefully about the name.

"Folks have the right to protest or have their feelings about Columbus. I always say it depends on what book you read. One will tell you how great he was and there's controversy about the others," he said.

The parade committee will start planning out next year's parade in a couple of weeks. It is planned to be called the Columbus Day parade for the 34th year.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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