Monday, December 31, 2012

Occupy float to follow Rose Parade


The Occupy movement will be making a repeat appearance at the 2013 Tournament of Roses Parade, organizers and police said Monday.
A 15-foot-high float, with "Mr. Monopoly" riding a red wagon, will wheel its way down the 5.5-mile route at the conclusion of the parade, organizers said. The board game character, intended to represent bankers, will have strings attached to participants who are on the verge of losing their homes or have lost their homes to foreclosure.
"It symbolizes the grip the banks have on individual homeowners," said Carlos Marroquin, an organizer with Occupy Fights Foreclosures. "We're protesting the foreclosure practices that continue to hurt millions of families."
Occupy Fights Foreclosures, a subcommittee of Occupy L.A., is hoping to capture the attention of the thousands of national and international viewers of the parade, Marroquin said, and highlight what they call "illegal bank practices."
Organizers expect at least 200 people to march alongside their float "Occupy Our Homes, It's Not All Roses for the Banksters' Victims." Participants will meet at 6 a.m. at Singer Park before making their way to the parade route. Occupy groups from across the region, including Irvine, Riverside and Pasadena, are expected to attend.
"We are not planning a civil disobedience; we're not going to interrupt the parade itself," Marroquin said. "We just want to bring attention to the foreclosure issues involving these major banks."
Germany-based Deutsche Bank, Wells Fargo and Bank of America are among the banks the Occupy protesters are criticizing.
The Pasadena Police Department has been working with Occupy Fights Foreclosures since announcing the group's participation last week.
"It was a little bit more last-minute than last year," said Police Chief Phillip Sanchez. "But they seem very cooperative."
The focus will be on ensuring the safety of parade participants and spectators, as well as protecting demonstrator's 1st Amendment rights, Sanchez said.
Occupy L.A.'s participation in the 2012 Rose Parade went off without a hitch, Sanchez said, and he expects it will be the same this time. Last year they marched the route after the Rose Parade with an octopus float made of plastic bags and a "peacekeeping team" to keep the calm.
There will be an increased law enforcement presence, including federal agents, at the 2013 parade because of the Occupy demonstration, Sanchez said.
Although official estimates tend to fluctuate, authorities expect nearly 900,000 people to attend the parade. Tournament of Roses officials said they expect more than 700,000 spectators.
"The big thing we'd like to get out there is that if someone sees something, they should say something," Sanchez said. "It's the best way we can prevent something from occurring."

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