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Recently freed Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Lopez Rivera has agreed to step aside from any formal role in New York City’s Puerto Rican Day parade, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

Rivera, who was considered to be a top leader of the Armed Forces of National Liberation, or FALN, was set to be honored by parade organizers. The ultranationalist Puerto Rican group had claimed responsibility for more than 100 bombings in New York, Chicago and Puerto Rico in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Oscar Lopez Rivera agreeing to step aside from any formal role in the parade is a critical step forward in refocusing our city’s attention on the more important issues facing Puerto Rico,” de Blasio said.

The parade’s decision to honor Lopez prompted sponsors including Coca-Cola, JetBlue and AT&T to drop out of the June 11 march up Fifth Avenue. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo also said he wouldn’t be marching.

Hispanic societies in both the Fire Department of New York and the New York Police Department also said they would not be sending delegations this year, and the police commissioner said he wouldn’t march. Law enforcement officers were among those injured in the FALN blasts.

Parade organizers have said they stand by their decision to honor Lopez Rivera as “Procer de la Libertad” — National Freedom Hero.

It was still unclear whether Rivera still planned to march in the parade or what role, if any, his presence would constitute.

River had not been charged with carrying out any of the bombings, but he was convicted of charges including seditious conspiracy and served more than 35 years in prison before President Obama commuted his sentence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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