Anti-Wall Street protesters vow to "occupy" Rose Parade

LOS ANGELES Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:23pm EST

A float drives down Colorado Boulevard during the 117th annual tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, in this January 2, 2006 file photograph.   REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files

A float drives down Colorado Boulevard during the 117th annual tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, in this January 2, 2006 file photograph.

Credit: Reuters/Lucas Jackson/Files

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Anti-Wall Street protesters hoping to commandeer a worldwide television audience to air their grievances said on Thursday they would peacefully "occupy" this year's Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.

Calling on Occupy demonstrators from across the country to join them, organizers said they would set up encampments along the parade route and unfurl a 250-foot banner demanding an end to corporate influence on politics.

Protesters also planned to march in a massive "human float" down the Colorado Boulevard route after the Tournament of Roses parade, which this year is scheduled for Monday, January 2.

"It's not rocket science. All we're trying to do is use this event, a historical piece of Americana that is becoming increasingly militarized and corporatized, to get our message out to millions of people," organizer Peter Thottam told Reuters in an interview.

The iconic Tournament of Roses Parade, which was first held on New Year's Day in 1890, is broadcast on several U.S. television networks and in dozens of countries around the world.

Thottam, who in 2008 helped lead a protest of the Rose Parade that called for the impeachment of then-President George W. Bush, said the more than 100-year-old event offered the perfect opportunity to reach a global TV audience.

He said protest organizers had met with Pasadena police and Rose Parade staff and were committed to a nonviolent action that did not disrupt the parade.

"More than anything, we're trying to draw the attention of the thousands of reporters and TV crews (covering the parade) to the growing level of disgust and anger at the polarization of wealth and at the banking sector's power and influence, and at the shrinking middle class," he said.

Thottam, who is affiliated with the OccupyLA movement, said that at least five "banking industry" floats were taking part in the parade this year and that nine others were underwritten by banks.

On their website,, organizers listed four primary demands and called on members of the Occupy movement across the country to join them.

A Pasadena police spokeswoman did not directly address the planned demonstration in a statement released on Thursday but said the department would collaborate with local, state and federal agencies to provide a "safe and wonderful" experience.

"Parade groups are encouraged to respect the rights of all who attend the parade, many of whom travel great distances with their families," Lieutenant Phlunte Riddle said.

Representatives of the Tournament of Roses said its public relations department was not taking phone calls about the planned protest but would issue a statement later.

Occupy Wall Street activists launched their movement in New York in September to protest against economic inequality, corporate excesses, high unemployment and bailouts of major banks.

Protesters have since embraced a range of other causes, and in many cities the demonstrations have also focused on grievances about excessive police use of force.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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Comments (1)
TheNewWorld wrote:
Why can’t these organizers spend their time staring a business and then practice what they preach? They could start a restaraunt chain and pay their workers six digits a year while the make the same ammount as the labor while they take the risk of failing themselves. Or the can start credit unions that charge no fees, and give low interest loans to all people regaurdless of their ability to pay it back. If you can’t pay your mortgage they are more then willing to take the losses themselves, and again they will be sure to pay everyone equally regaurdless of the position. I mean we truly need these visionaries to create businesses that hire people just to provide jobs whether they are needed or not, rather than being interested in making money for themselves.

Nov 12, 2011 3:03am EST  --  Report as abuse
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