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Hundreds of ‘Occupy’ protesters make a show at Rose Parade

By Reuters
Monday, January 2, 2012 20:10 EDT
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PASADENA, Calif (Reuters) – Hundreds of anti-Wall Street protesters sought to upstage the 123rd Tournament of Roses parade on Monday but were largely confined to the sidelines.

Several hundred protesters marched in a “human float” that followed behind the official parade, unfurling a 250-foot banner of the constitution and also displayed an approximately 70-foot octopus made of recycled plastic grocery bags.

“Everything is not coming up roses,” one protester’s sign said. Another read, “This is what Democracy looks like.”

Onlookers were allowed to walk along the parade route behind the official floats, so the protesters were joined by thousands of spectators and even a handful of counter-protesters, one of whom admonished the protesters to “get a job” on his megaphone.

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.

The protesters’ attempts to gain national attention were largely thwarted by television networks, which gave little attention to their efforts.

Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed during the Iraq war, joined the march and told supporters: “I haven’t paid my income tax since my son was killed. I refuse to be a funder for their crimes against humanity.”

Police estimated that roughly 300 to 400 protesters followed the parade route.

“They did exactly what they said they were going to do,” said Pasadena Police spokeswoman Lt. Phlunte Riddle, who added that no arrests were made during the parade.

Three activists who were seated along parade the route did manage to unfurl a banner that read “Stop Foreclosures” across from the television news cameras when a Wells Fargo-sponsored carriage passed by before police quickly took it down.

“We wanted to send a message to Wells Fargo and every other bank,” said Joshua Taylor, one of the three protesters.

Some protesters who marched behind the parade were wearing tents in a nod to the movement’s origins, which was launched in New York in September and quickly saw tent cities spring up in major cities across the country 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 some cities the demonstrations have also focused on grievances about excessive police use of force.

(Writing by Mary Slosson; Editing by Greg McCune)

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Reuters
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