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Venezuelan Protesters Pull Down Statue of Columbus - 2004-10-13

Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez have observed Columbus Day by pulling down a statue of the Italian explorer during a demonstration in the capital, Caracas Tuesday.

The protesters accuse Christopher Columbus of launching a genocide on Venezuela's native indian population. Officials say several of the protesters were arrested after the statue was brought down.

President Chavez himself has taken a hard line against honoring the memory of Christopher Columbus. Two years ago, the president changed the name of the October 12 holiday, declaring it a day of indigenous "resistance" to honor the indigenous groups which fought against would-be European conquerors.