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Occupy protest follows 123rd annual Rose Parade
PASADENA, Calif. — The 2012 Tournament of Roses brought its flowery floats and strutting bands to a worldwide audience Monday under clear blue skies, and in its wake came a scruffier parade — hundreds of anti-Wall Street protesters.
The 123rd annual New Year's Day event, with the theme “Just Imagine,” flowed along downtown Pasadena to the cheers of hundreds of thousands of sidewalk spectators.
An estimated 40 million people viewed this year’s procession of 44 floats, 16 marching bands and 22 equestrian troupes on U.S. television.
There were 10 arrests overnight, including four felonies, as thousands of spectators staked out viewing places along the route but that figure was down from the previous year, police said.
“Everything went very, very well. We’re very pleased,” police Lt. Phlunte Riddle said.
On the heels of the two-hour parade came anti-Wall Street protesters in a pre-arranged demonstration.
The thunder of the retreating marching bands mingled in the air with chants of “Banks got bailed out, we got sold out” as the Occupy the Rose Parade demonstrators retraced about 1.5 miles of the 5.5-mile parade route before veering off for a rally near City Hall.
They carried a 250-foot-long banner that said “We the People” to represent the U.S. Constitution. Some also held a 70-foot-long octopus made from recycle plastic bags that represented the tentacles of perceived corporate greed.
“This is about getting money out of politics,” said Greg Stevens, a 38-year-old public health lecturer at the University of Southern California. “I support everything this movement is about.”
As the protesters marched by, some Rose Parade spectators yelled “get a job” while others snapped photos and cheered.
“It’s kind of crazy but kind of exciting,” said Alana Olvick, 26, of Valencia, Calif.
The ragtag group of protesters made an interesting comparison to the slick, glittering Rose Parade offerings.
“It’s contradicting the parade,” Olvick said.
Behind the protesters came three truckloads of Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies in riot gear but no arrests were immediately made and the protest was noisy but peaceful.
Occupy the Rose Parade organizer Pete Thottam estimated the crowd of protesters at 5,000, although police said it was around 400.
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