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Occupy Rose Parade: Activists divided over protest

Occupy
Some divisions have emerged among Occupy activists who plan to march at the end of the Rose Parade.

Demonstrators insist they don’t intend to disrupt the parade. Pasadena police have worked with Occupy representatives in preparing for Monday’s events, and are confident leaders plan a peaceful demonstration.

But some Pasadena residents sympathetic to the Occupy movement’s message remain divided over the wisdom of demonstrating on the day of the avowedly nonpolitical, family-friendly parade.

FULL COVERAGE: 2012 Rose Parade

Local activists who assemble under the banner of Occupy Pasadena declined to give their endorsement to the organizer of the Rose Parade protest, Peter Thottam, a Venice activist.

“The group was uncomfortable with disrupting the parade, whether intended by the organizer or not … undermining the community outreach we would like to do,” Occupy Pasadena participant Paul Jenvey, 32, said.

Concerns included “the fact that it seemed to be this vision of one person and the nature of the action was not decided by a democratic body,” said Jenvey, a South Pasadena resident.

As the unofficial spokesman for Occupy the Rose Parade, Thottam, 40, has faced scrutiny of his background as an unsuccessful state Assembly candidate, former associate of the conspiracy-oriented 9/11 Truth Movement and attorney whose license was briefly suspended by the State Bar of California after a 2004 shoplifting conviction.

Thottam said a focus on him discounts the efforts of more than a dozen organizers behind Occupy the Rose Parade, a few of them from Pasadena.

“The Rose Parade is our chance to get our message out to mainstream America,” Occupy the Rose Parade organizer David Cutter, a 54-year-old Pasadena resident, told the Pasadena Sun.

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-- Joe Piasecki, Times Community News

Photo: Protesters unfurl a banner with the preamble to the U.S. Constitution as members of Occupy Rose Parade hold a practice on Thursday, ahead of their planned march in the wake of Monday's annual Rose Parade in Pasadena. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

 
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