Rose Parade 2012: Occupy activists form 'peacekeeping' team
Occupy the Rose Parade activists said they had assembled a "peacekeeping" team to thwart members who might try to cause trouble during the event.
A team of about 36 Occupy protesters will, in three groups, march with the Occupy procession at the end of the Rose Parade to self-police and prevent violence or disturbance of the parade itself.
Hundreds of activists gathered in Pasadena’s Singer Park to prepare for their stroll down the parade route on Colorado Boulevard. The group will carry a 70-foot by 40-foot "float" made of recycled plastic bags and titled "Occupy Octopus" during their demonstration following the parade.
The Ocuppy the Rose Parade movement has emphasized its goal of keeping Monday’s march peaceful.
Julio Toruno, 57, of Altadena spent hours spray-painting the peacekeeping group’s fluorescent yellow vests, which says “99” on the front and back to represent the 99% of Americans who are not among the nation's wealthiest, according to protesters.
The group will use human microphones, in which a person yells and others echo, to draw attention to any troublemakers, he said.
"We think we can handle it with sweetness," Bruce added.
Under a 1992 Pasadena ordinance, disrupting or impeding a parade can be punished by a $1,000 fine and a jail term of up to six months.
Soren Sorenson, of Bemidji, Minn., will also be among the peacekeepers. He has been in the L.A. area for about two weeks and has been with an Occupy Minnesota group.
Occupy the Rose Parade was criticized in some Occupy forums and by some Occupy groups that were leery of the parade event and worried it was not in the true spirit of the organization.
"People have different experiences," Sorenson said of the different protesters and Occupy movements across the country.
Sorenson, though, said he decided to join when he learned fundraising dollars from Occupy L.A. and other Occupy protests were going to Monday's event.
Occupy the Rose Parade has been well-organized, he said, and "It looks to be a good use of the funds."
-- Hailey Branson-Potts in Pasadena and Angel Jennings in Los Angeles
Photo: An Occupy protester flashes a peace sign prior to the 123rd Rose Parade in Pasadena. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times