Rose Parade 2012: About 200 Occupy protesters gather in Pasadena
This post has been corrected. See note below for details.
About 200 Occupy the Rose Parade protesters gathered in Pasadena's Singer Park early Monday, eating vegan muffins and organizing logistics, such as who will carry a 70-by-40-foot Occupy Octopus during their demonstration at the event.
The head and tentacles of the octopus made of recycled plastic bags had arrived, and at least two dozen people will carry it down Colorado Boulevard after the Rose Parade, organizers said.
A peacekeeping team wore fluorescent yellow vests with the number 99 -- for the 99% who are not among America's wealthiest, according to protesters -- on the front and back, and protesters constructed signs that read "Imagine Medicare for all" and "Robin Hood was right."
Tracey Douglas, a kindergarten teacher, said she came with a group of six Riverside activists who are planning to wear white bandannas over their mouths with smiles drawn in black marker.
They also plan to carry signs depicting a Wall Street bull behind cross hairs in red and the words "Desire, obtain, cherish, destroy," she said.
Douglas said she wants to raise awareness of the corporate influence on public education. Many of her students live in poverty, she said.
Tom Hayes, another activist from Riverside, said the protests would be nonviolent.
"There's going to be a lot of police watching peaceful protesters," he said. "They're the ones coming dressed for a fight."
Occupy the Rose Parade's first meeting started at 6:09 a.m. with a human microphone check, in which one person yells and the others echo.
"We're hoping to get at least a thousand people here," said activist Fernando Garces, 55, of Torrance. "I'm pretty excited. I couldn't get to sleep last night, and I'm not tired."
The group's main focus Monday is ending home foreclosures, Garces said. Signs at the meeting read "Eat the Rich," carrying the image of the Monopoly game financier, and "Stop the War on Workers."
Some activists were walking around wearing tents on their back, representing the Occupy movement, and were calling themselves human tents.
At the meeting, Garces said Occupy is looking forward to possible future events, including Occupy the Grammys.
[For the Record, Jan. 3, 1:15 p.m.: A previous version of this post stated that Tracey Douglas came to the protest with a group of 60 Riverside activists. It was a group of six. Also, Douglas' last name was incorrectly reported as Robinson.]
-- Hailey R. Branson-Potts in Pasadena
Photo: An Occupy protester flashes a peace sign prior to the Rose Parade in Pasadena. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times