Demonstrators interrupt Columbus Day wreath-laying ceremony

NEW YORK (AP) -- -

A wreath-laying ceremony at a New York statue of Christopher Columbus was interrupted yesterday -- the day before the Columbus Day holiday -- by demonstrators speaking out against honoring the Italian explorer.

Two of the three protesters were dressed in fake chains. One wore a hooded white sheet. They spoke out before being escorted away. The New York Police Department says one person was arrested.

A movement to abolish Columbus Day and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day is gaining momentum. But the gesture to recognize victims of European colonialism also has outraged Italian-Americans. They say eliminating their festival of ethnic pride is culturally insensitive.

Meanwhile 35,000 people are expected to march in today's Columbus Day parade in New York. Activists calling for the city to change the name are expected to hold a demonstration.

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