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Occupy protesters target Rose Parade

Dec. 22, 2011 at 1:19 AM   |   Comments

PASADENA, Calif., Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Occupy activists plan to bring some floats of their own to California for this year's Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena.

Police and parade organizers are preparing to make sure the parade runs smoothly despite the protests, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday. The parade this year is scheduled for Jan. 2, because New Year's Day falls on a Sunday.

"We've enjoyed 122 uninterrupted parades and the 123rd won't be any different," Pasadena Police Lt. Phlunte Riddle said. "We have seen protests before, be it PETA, impeach George Bush or protests over Christopher Columbus. We have dealt with fears over Y2K and we are prepared for the Occupy movement."

The parade attracts a crowd of about 700,000 and a large TV audience, making it a protest magnet. Even the mayor of Pasadena joined in one year, wearing a "Tournament of Racists" shirt to protest the small minority presence.

Pete Thottam, an Occupy spokesman, said its floats will include one bearing an octopus with a 40-foot diameter made from recycled paper bags, and another with rival copies of the Constitution, one starting "We the People" and the other "We the Corporations." Cindy Sheehan, who became an activist after her son was killed in Iraq, is expected to speak, the Times said.

While turnout from something as loosely organized as the Occupy movement is hard to predict, Thottam said the early response suggests thousands of people could come to Pasadena.

Local Tea Party activists have dropped plans for a counter-protest.

"We have decided to not be part of this piece of drama and exercise in street theater," Michael Alexander, founder of TEAPAC, said. "Pasadena is entitled to one day without politics."

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