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Cornel West backs Occupy the Rose Parade

December 19, 2011 |  8:40 am

Photo: Cornell West walks through a crowd of Occupy LA demonstrators on the steps of City Hall, to deliver a speech encouraging thier efforts. Credit: Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times

Liberal professor Cornel West told a Pasadena church Sunday that he backs an Occupy the Rose Parade demonstration, a newspaper reported Monday.

The noted academic, who previously taught at Harvard University, was speaking at All Saints Church to discuss "The Role of Progressive Religion in the Occupy Movement" when he made the comments.

"Any time you get a chance to bear witness for justice, I support that," the Pasadena Star-News quoted him as saying. "If I was around Jan. 2, I would be a part of it."

West has been vocal about his support for the Occupy movement before. In October, West was arrested on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court on suspicion of refusing to leave and demonstrating on court grounds with signs, which is prohibited.

The Rose Parade is on Jan. 2 because of the tradition of postponing the parade if New Year's Day falls on a Sunday.

Protesters who plan a post-parade march down Colorado Boulevard have promised not to disrupt the main Rose Parade event, while police have agreed to treat demonstrators fairly as long as they keep their word, according to the Pasadena Sun. 

"We want to make sure this is completely nondisruptive to the main parade," said Occupy the Rose Parade organizer Peter Thottam.

"We're going to work with [Occupy the Rose Parade] to ensure that the parade goes smoothly and they have the opportunity to have their voice," said Pasadena Police Department spokeswoman Lt. Phlunte Riddle.

On Jan. 2, the Occupy demonstrators plan to display signs near the Norton Simon Museum, across from the main location for television cameras covering the parade, before banding together to carry a 250-foot-long banner representation of the U.S. Constitution from Orange Grove Boulevard to a post-parade rally at Pasadena City Hall.

Thottam told the Pasadena Sun that they also would display "a giant octopus to represent Wall Street's stranglehold on the economy and the political system."


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-- Rong-Gong Lin II and Joe Piasecki, Times Community News

Photo: Cornel West walks through a crowd of Occupy L.A. demonstrators on the steps of City Hall to deliver a speech encouraging their efforts. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times