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Occupy's Rose Parade float: 70-foot octopus of corporate greed

December 30, 2011 |  8:38 am


Occupy protesters are busy finishing their float that will run at the end of the Rose Parade: a 70-by-40-foot octopus made of recycled plastic bags.

The octopus, said activist Mark Lipman of Los Angeles, represents Wall Street's stranglehold on political, cultural and social life, with tentacles "that reach into your pocket to get your money and a tentacle to get your house."

"This is the real Rose Parade, and the other is the Rose Charade," said Pete Thottam, 40, an Occupy activist.

Protesters will march the parade route after the floats and marching bands have passed. The group has been working with Pasadena police and Tournament of Roses officials on how not to disrupt the parade.

FULL COVERAGE: Rose Parade 2012

"Our goal is to put Occupy's best foot forward," Thottam said, adding that activists expect more than 1,000 participants. "We recognize that this is a historic, iconic event geared toward middle America and the family."

The group says the protest will be "G-rated" and will stick to nonviolence in expressing Occupy's messages against income inequality and corporate power.

Though the Occupy movement is leaderless, it has taken some organization to get ready for Monday's event.

During the rehearsal Thursday, activists were assigned roles, such as working with an Occupy peacekeeping team or carrying the plastic pipes that will support two large replicas of the preamble to the Constitution. Each replica — one with the words "We the People," one with "We the Corporations" — requires dozens of people to hold up. Maneuvering the octopus "human float" took some practice in coordination. Protesters spun in circles, moving it through the park. Each tentacle will have several protesters lifting it.

FULL COVERAGE: Rose Parade 2012



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-- Hailey Branson-Potts in Pasadena

Photo: Occupy activists test a giant octopus made with plastic bags. Credit: Jae C. Hong / Associated Press