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No Columbus Day in Columbus: City to honour veterans instead

AP  |  Columbus 

The largest city named for has called off its observance of the divisive holiday that honours the explorer, making a move to tie the switch to a politically safe demographic: veterans.

Ohio's capital city, population 860,000, will be open for business Monday after observing Day probably "for as long as it had been in existence," said Robin Davis, a spokeswoman for Democratic Mayor

City offices will close instead on Veterans Day, which falls on November 12 this year.

Native Americans and allied groups have long used Day to elevate issues of concern to them. That includes a peaceful protest of prayers, speeches and traditional singing in 2016 at underneath the statue of the explorer that sits out front to protest the and to urge to support more

The decision to stop observing the holiday was not triggered by the national movement to abolish in favour of as a way of recognizing victims of colonialism, Davis said.

marks the Italian explorer's arrival in the on October 12, 1492.

"We have a number of veterans who work for the city, and there are so many here in Columbus," Davis said. "We thought it was important to honour them with that day off."

And, she said, the city doesn't have the budget to give its 8,500 employees both days off, she said.

Columbus made its announcement Thursday in a two-paragraph release focused on the impact on trash pickup and parking enforcement schedules. In that way, it avoided much of the consternation that has taken place elsewhere around the holiday.

An attempt in Akron to rename the holiday grew ugly last year, dividing the all-Democratic city council along racial lines. Five black members voted to rename the holiday and eight white members voted not to, keeping the holiday in place.

A similar effort twice failed in before a vote Wednesday finally recognised as the renamed It became the second city to do so, after the liberal college town of in 2017. Cleveland, which has a large Italian-American population, continues to host a major Columbus Day parade.

Organisers of the 39-year-old Columbus Italian Festival, traditionally held on Columbus Day weekend, were not given advance notice of the city's decision, said

"It's very in vogue politically right now to do that. It's not PC for me to say anything against indigenous peoples," he said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, October 07 2018. 21:20 IST