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Big Trouble in Little Pasadena: Not All the World Celebrates

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While hundreds of volunteers are stealthily working into the wee hours to affix flora to framework and as people begin to plan for finding space along the parade route, an unexpected battle has been waging between human rights groups and the City of Pasadena.

The Pasadena Star-News reports that the controversy surrounds several components, including the upcoming 2008 Olympic Games to be held in Beijing, China, and the requests made by the Pasadena Coalition for Human Rights in China to hold a march prior to the 2008 Tournament of Roses Parade. Worldwide uncertainty about Beijing's selection as an Olympic host city as well as a Right now, however, the drama is spotlighting the Beijing Olympic float, as the human-rights groups denounced the Chinese sponsored entry and asked that parade goers turn their backs on the float as it makes it way past the grandstands and attendees who line Colorado Boulevard.

Talks between these groups--who had support from the Tournament of Roses--and the City of Pasadena did not leed to a favorable negotiation regarding the request to hold a march for human rights on Colorado Boulevards before the parade. The Star-News reports:

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human rights organizers pitched a march, led by celebrity and human-rights VIPs, with a marching band and vehicles. Citing security concerns, police rejected that. Several attempts to broker a deal failed. Last weekend the city made a final offer for a single torchbearer and golf cart to go down Colorado Boulevard before sunrise at 6 a.m.

The groups countered with an ambitious request for a procession to start one minute before the parade. It was rejected.

This has led to the plea for parade goers to shun the Beijing float in the early hours of New Year's Day.The Star-News also points out "Pasadena has a sister-city relationship with Xicheng, a district of Beijing." Sibling rivalry, perhaps? Tuesday's event marks the 119th Tournament of Roses, and it's theme: Passport to the World's Celebrations.

Photo by mattlogelin via Flickr