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Occupy protest at Rose Parade angers 'tea party' activists

Rose Parade braces for protesters
"Tea party" activists are angry that Occupy protesters plan a demonstration during the Rose Parade, but have  dropped their plans to launch a counter-demonstration.

Michael Alexander, president and founder of TEAPAC, a Pasadena-based tea party group, said his members at outraged that Occupy would try to “politicize” the Rose Parade and began formulating a counter-protest. But after talking to police, his group decided to stand down.

"We have decided to not be part of this piece of drama and exercise in street theater," he said. "Pasadena is entitled to one day without politics."

Occupy activists said they are disappointed that the tea party won’t be on hand.

"We consider them our brothers and sisters in arms in our fight to take back control of our country,"  said Occupy spokesman Pete Thottam.

Pasadena police and Tournament of Roses officials have been negotiating with Occupy forces for several weeks on a plan they hope will prevent any disruptions of the parade.

Pasadena officials are allowing the Occupy group to march the route at the end of the parade, after all the floats have passed.

Protesters intend to march with large banners decrying wealth inequality in the United States and to unveil a few colorful "floats" of their own, including a giant people-powered octopus, Thottam said.

Pasadena police Lt. Phlante Riddle said officials believe that the situation is under control.

"We’ve enjoyed 122 uninterrupted parades and [the] 123rd won’t be any different," Riddle said. "We have seen protests before, be it PETA, impeach George Bush or protests over Christopher Columbus. We have dealt with fears over Y2K and we are prepared for the Occupy movement."


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Photo: Rick Jackson, right, president of the 2012 Tournament of Roses, presents an official Rose Parade flag to Tony White, director of the Los Angeles Unified School District's All-District Marching Band, on Wednesday in the parking lot at Dodger Stadium. Rose Parade organizers are bracing for protesters.

Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times

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