Occupy protesters vow peaceful Rose Parade

Jan. 2, 2012 at 4:30 AM
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PASADENA, Calif., Jan. 2 (UPI) -- Occupy Wall Street protesters face a $1,000 fine and a possible six-month jail term if they disturb Monday's Rose Parade in Pasadena, Calif., officials said.

The protesters, who plan to carry a giant octopus to symbolize corporate greed, are not officially part of the Tournament of Roses Parade. But they have permission to march immediately afterward -- and they promised not to block or disrupt the rest of the procession.

"Our goal is to put Occupy's best foot forward," protester Pete Thottam, 40, told the Los Angeles Times.

"We recognize that this is a historic, iconic event geared toward Middle America and the family."

The parade, which was first held Jan. 1, 1890, is a festival of flower-covered floats, marching bands and equestrians, followed by the Rose Bowl college football game. The event is usually held New Year's Day but is a day later if New Year's Day falls on a Sunday.

A 1992 Pasadena ordinance says disrupting or impeding a parade is punishable by a $1,000 fine and a jail term of up to six months.

Besides carrying a 70-by-40-foot octopus, the Occupy protesters planned to carry giant blowups of the U.S. Constitution -- a 250-foot one highlighting the words "We the People" and a 50-foot one saying "We the Corporations," the Occupy the Rose Parade Web site said.

The protesters also planned to have a giant "Goldie Sachs" Wheel of Fortune exhibit, referring to the Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment bank, which has come under heavy criticism for its role in the U.S. and European financial crises and alleged revolving-door ties to many governments.

The Occupy protesters were to be led by anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son, U.S. Army Spc. Casey Sheehan, was killed in action during the Iraq War.

The parade is expected to be seen by an estimated 50 million TV viewers, as well as 700,000 people lining the parade route, The Christian Science Monitor reported.

Occupy protesters are not the first group allowed to march after the parade.

Other groups since the 1970s have included animal-rights activists, religious factions predicting the end of the world, civil-rights activists and anti-Vietnam War protesters, the Monitor said.

One year, demonstrators protested the use of a Christopher Columbus descendant as grand marshal, carrying a sign that read, "500 years of genocide," the newspaper said.

Separately, an Occupy protest group known as Occupy the Caucuses promises not to interfere with Tuesday's Republican Iowa caucuses, despite protesting last week.

"We've continued to say, publicly and repeatedly, that we're not going to disrupt the caucuses," Occupy leader David Goodner, an Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement organizer, told the Lee Enterprises news service.

"Most of our members are going to the caucuses themselves. Some are caucusing for Ron Paul, some are going to the Democratic caucus and voting non-committed," he said.

Still, the Iowa Republican Party said it would tally caucus results at an "undisclosed location" out of concern for potential interference from outside groups, the news service said.

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