Tournament of Roses to Occupiers: You Can't March in Our Parade

Penny Starr | December 28, 2011 | 7:04pm EST
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(Photo courtesy of Pasadena Tournament of Roses)

( - Although an Occupy Wall Street protest group in Pasadena, Calif., tried to get a slot to march in the Rose Parade on Jan. 2, officials with the parade said no. The group now plans to march down the street behind a group of police cars that mark the end of the parade.

In November, the Occupy group announced its plans to “occupy” the parade, but the Pasadena Tournament of Roses provided a statement on Wednesday to saying that protesters would “not be taking part in the Rose Parade” because only official entries, approved by the tournament well in advance of the event, can take part in the event.

Also, Lt. Plhunte Riddle of the Pasadena Police Department told in a telephone interview: “The Tournament of Roses has the exclusive authority to issue permits for the entries in the parade. Occupy has not been issued a permit.”

Instead, the activists can walk down Colorado Boulevard along with countless other people who throng the streets when the parade concludes.

“They will be allowed, just like any other spectator or any other demonstrator, to fall in at the completion of the parade behind our four police cars that trail the parade,” Riddle said. “That doesn’t give them placing, that doesn’t give them a permit – no permit is needed as long as they don’t infringe on other individuals that every year gather in the street and walk.”

Although the group is not part of the parade, its Web site says, “Float #44/#99 will be our float with visual displays including a 250 foot ‘We the People’ U.S. Constitution, a 50 foot ‘We The Corporations’ version, a giant ‘Goldie Sachs’ Wheel of Fortune exhibit, a Wall Street ‘Occupy The Octopus’ (Occupy The Vampire Squid) representing Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Citibank (i.e. Wall Street) and much more,” the Web site states.

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The site also states: “Please join us on-site in Pasadena on Jan 1-2, 2012 for an Occupy Human Float and demonstration that will be seen by 50 million Americans and 200,000,000 people around the world -- LIVE. Our primary messages ‘Corporate Money Out of Politics,’ ‘OCCUPY’ & ‘Corporations are Not People.’”

Rose Parade Grand Marshal J. R. Martinez. (AP Photo)

Pete Thottam, one of the organizers of the gathering in Pasadena, was reached on his cell phone by Thottam said the purpose of following the Rose Parade was “to take back our government and the Constitution.”

A video on the Web site features Thottam encouraging people “from all over the country and all over the world” to come to Pasadena.

He said activists will form what he called a “human float” that he hopes will be glimpsed by the millions of people watching the parade in person or on the television.

“It’s an unprecedented opportunity to get the concerns and messages of the Occupy Wall Street movement out to an enormous audience,” Thottam said.

But Michael Alexander, president and co-founder of the Tea Party Pasadena Patriots and its political action committee, TEAPAC, said he doesn’t think the protestors will have much impact and described the Occupy efforts as a “movement in decline.”

Alexander said his group debated whether to stage a counter-demonstration but it was decided that it was wrong to “politicize” the beloved parade.

“America is entitled to one day without politics, whether it’s the Tea Party, the Democrats, the Republicans or the Occupy people,” Alexander said. “The Rose Parade is our parade and we deeply resent any effort to politicize it.”

Wall Street protesters dance to music as they remain at the camp in front of Los Angeles City Hall in Los Angeles on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2011. (AP Photo/Jason Redmond)

Alexander said changing the status quo in Washington and around the country will not happen by following a parade.

“The real demonstration is going to be at the polls in November and at every other election inbetween,” Alexander said. “That’s where this battle will be fought -- not in petty street theater.”

Riddle said police staffing has been beefed up for the parade, based on an annual assessment, which this year included the protestors. But she added that she thinks the parade will continue in its successful tradition.

“It’s going to be a great parade,” Riddle said. “And we’re hoping that people know that, just as in the past, it’s going to be very safe and we’re looking forward to seeing them.”

The No. 6 Oregon Ducks and No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers will do battle on the field on Monday in the 98th Rose Bowl Game.

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