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Occupy Wall Street Wants to Occupy the Rose Parade, Local Activists Worry About Messing With Tradition

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Occupy Wall Street has set its sights on a new street: Colorado Boulevard.

The Rose Parade that goes down Colorado has the rapt attention of millions of TV viewers every New Year's Day (or the day after, as is the case this year) and loads of corporate sponsors. What better place for the Occupy Wall Street movement to stage a protest and catch Middle America's attention?

But Pasadena may be the kind of city so deeply tied to its traditions that even its activists — who say they want to transform the way the political system works — aren't on quite board with out-of-towner allies who want to mess with their local tradition.

"As much as we’re concerned about a growing corporate influence in the parade, especially the bank presence, it’s not really our direction," Maddie Gavel-Briggs, a local activist who has organized rallies in front of Pasadena bank branches, told the Pasadena Sun. "Our goal is bringing people together. I’m sensitive that a lot of people wouldn’t want to see [the Rose Parade] used as a place for leverage."

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Occupy Pasadena member Esteban Gil, 23, echoed that sentiment: "It’s a good idea if it’s well-organized and has a well-crafted message, but I think I’d be careful about messing with people’s traditions."

Peter Thottam, the brainchild behind the Occupy Rose Parade Movement, wants to bring 40,000 protestors from around the country to stage its protest. Its motto: everything is not coming up Roses. Local organizers of the Occupy Los Angeles are on board and they have created a web site. Their plan is to enter a "human float," which may or may not meet the parade's strict requirements of covering every surface on the float with organic matter.

Thottam told the Pasadena Star-News that the group is speaking with the police, city official and parade organizers, so that the White Suiters don't dispose of them like equine feces.

If local activists are worried about staging a protest, the local chief of police isn't.

"We don't see them as a potential threat," police Deputy Chief Darryl Qualls told the Star-News. "We understand why they may be coming."