The Pasadena Police Department plans to increase the number of law enforcement agents at Pasadena's Tournament of Roses parade on Jan. 2 in response to a planned demonstration by Occupy protesters.
“It’s time to go to the next level,” said Occupy protester Dan Niswander. “It’s time to put the message out in a way that speaks our message, the message of the people.”
The Occupy movement first announced its plans in November. Come Monday, Occupy the Rose Parade demonstrators will display signs from the sidewalk during the parade. They will then form a human float, in the shape of an octopus, and stroll behind the last parade float down Colorado Boulevard. The octopus is meant to represent the hold corporations have on the country.
“The last float in the parade is number 43,” said Occupy protester Pete Thottam. “We’re going to be float number 44, which coincidentally, is the Obama Administration’s float number. We will have five major [setups], the biggest one will be a 250 foot by 50 foot version of the constitution.”
The occupiers' plan has prompted the Pasadena Police Department to call in backup. Police plan to put helicopters in the air and employ an armored vehicle during the parade. While they expect nothing like the violent confrontations that occurred in other cities this year, police want to make sure tempers don’t flare.
“Federal, state and local law enforcement that will be there that day,” said Pasadena Police Lt. Phlunte Riddle. “For that fringe individual that steps out and does something inappropriate, we’ll deal with him or her on a case-by-case situation.”
Riddle will not say which other agencies will be guarding the parade, but the California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department have been present in years past.
Occupy protesters say they plan a peaceful protest, even calling themselves “peacekeepers.”
The Rose Parade and Rose Bowl Game draw more than a half million people to Pasadena each year. It is viewed by millions more on television.