Some of the organizers of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Los Angeles now have their sights on Pasadena’s biggest cultural event, the Rose Parade.
Bleachers already line the parade route along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena and the group now calling itself “Occupy the Rose Parade” announced Thursday it wants to bring 40,000 protesters to form a human float on January 2nd.
“It’s critical that at the Rose Parade we get the attention of the country,” said Peter Thottam, one of the organizers.
“We’re in a depression and everything is not coming up roses,” he added.
Occupy the Rose Parade is not affiliated with Occupy Pasadena.
Thottam said he’s put the word out to “occupy” groups across the country to help him get their message out during the parade.
One million people usually attend the spectacle and another 50 million watch it on television in the United States and 200 million tune in around the world. Thottam said he sees this as the ultimate public space.
But one activist who attends Occupy Pasadena events said it is unlikely the Rose Parade protest will get much support from his group.
He told the Pasadena Star News “disrupting cherished city traditions is really not an appropriate step to take.”
“One out of five people is out of work. One out of six is on food stamps. Something is very wrong with this country and it is time for America to wake up and say enough things have to change,” he said.
He added that his group is boiling its message down to get to the heart of what needs to change:
“Get corporate money out of politics.”
Occupy Pasadena has been aiming its frustrations at Bank of America and Chase bank which is not too far from what Occupy the Rose Parade has in mind.
“There’s a record number of banking floats this year [in the parade] and we think it’s the embodiment in some ways of how dysfunctional things have become,” said Thottam.
“I think even if some people get upset… as long as there are some people who are made aware of our issues and aware of the movement, I think it’s going to be an overall success,” said Andrew Jones, another organizer of Occupy the Rose Parade.
The movement has set up a website in the hopes of gaining support.
Tournament of Roses officials do not see the protest plans as a problem at this time.
They have not officially commented on Occupy the Rose Parade, but deputy Pasadena Police Chief Darryl Qualls told the Star News that he did not see the planned demonstration as a particular threat and added, “we understand why they may be coming.”