Denver Columbus Day Parade Scrapped To Avoid Conflict

City Denies Group's Permit; Terrorist Fundraiser Planned Instead

Denver officials denied a permit for a second Columbus Day parade, and the people who asked for it said they had decided to hold a fundraiser for terrorism victims instead.

Public Safety Manager Ari Zavaras denied the permit request last week, saying the previously approved parade would draw protests and and he did not want police to have to deal with two events. Both would have been on Oct. 8.

The Denver Columbus Day Parade Committee, which sought the second permit, said it had scrapped its parade plan and would sell sausage sandwiches to raise money for New York police and firefighters who were victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The group also plans a blood drive.

"We, the Italian community, will celebrate Columbus Day 2001 united in prayer with all Americans in support of our country. God bless America," state senator Alice Nichol said.

"We don't need to have any controversy on our streets right now," said George Vendegnia, a member of the committee.

Vendegnia was part of the group organizing the first parade but left because of differences over including "Italian Pride" in the name. Vendegnia wanted the parade to be named only after Columbus.

Last year's parade drew protesters who said Columbus committed genocide and was a slave trader. Police arrested 140 people but charges were dropped against most.

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