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A people’s parade aligned with the Occupy Wall Street movement trailed the official 2015 Tournament of Roses Parade in near-freezing temperatures Thursday morning. The Occupy the Rose Parade tradition returned for the fourth year in a row, joining the 126th Rose Parade in front of one million live spectators on New Year’s Day. True to their tradition, KTLA turned off their live broadcast prior to the arrival of the Occupy the Rose Parade floats and banners.

Occupy Pasadena Rose Parade

The group of several dozen assembled on a side street off Orange Grove Boulevard at the rear of the 39 massive corporate-sponsored fresh floral floats celebrating icons of popular culture. Astonished onlookers paused for photos with the “Overthrow Capitalism” banner and the “Stop Wall Street Banksters” message carried by several top-hat clad bankers with an oversized puppet Uncle Sam. Spectators paused to ask, “What is fracking?” in response to the 20 ft. tall flaming oil derrick declaring “Gov Brown: Don’t Frack CA.”

John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance” played over public address system as members of Occupy Venice Beach posed with onlookers interested in their other 20-foot-tall float, showing the Constitution of the United States being shredded by a corporate sponsored paper-shredder. Another yellow sheet with red letters declared, “Money Out of Politics.” The final banner in the Occupy the Rose Parade contingent showed the bodies of black men killed by police in 2014, including Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Tamir Rice, and John Crawford, with the message to “Demand a New Year.”

On their website, Occupy Venice Beach explained the choice of corporate logos for the paper shredder destroying the Constitution of the United States:

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“Fox News is the greatest disseminator of racism, xenophobia, and greed. Goldman Sachs is one of the leading manipulators of markets and the mortgage backed derivatives that they sold were one of the main causes of the financial crisis of 2008. Occidental Petroleum is one the biggest frackers in the Los Angeles area. Fracking poisons water and leads to earthquakes. Chevron is the leading leaker of oil and other fossil fuels in California. Citibank is actively undermining our democracy by buying off “elected” officials and making them pass laws that allow Wall Street financial speculation. CNN is a snake because it acts as a mouth piece for the administration. Prior to the Iraq war, CNN did not question and fact check the government evidence which was used to start the war. Remember the supposed weapons of mass destruction that Saddam was supposed to posses? They were never found.”

After the Kiwanis International float departed the corner of California Boulevard and Orange Grove Boulevard, several Pasadena Police, Homeland Security, and other law enforcement vehicles blocked the path of the people’s parade. Los Angeles Sheriff Department deputies on foot directed the march to wait until more than 10 tow trucks entered the parade route, and then Occupy the Rose Parade was directed to continue, flanked by another police car at the rear. At several points along the parade route, militarized vehicles containing riot police joined the procession.

The occupation of the Rose Parade grew in size while parading down Colorado Boulevard. Anonymous joined the march with a message, “Who Will Protect the Public When the Police Break the Law?” A man rollerskated to both sides of the street with a re-purposed Styrofoam floral holder bearing the message “Support Native Rights.” Half a dozen people joined with Spanish language signs on fluorescent poster board, including “Nos faltan 43” and “No Mas! Legalización para todos.” Dollhouse Juan of Occupy Los Angeles jumped up from the crowd to dance with the parade.

Occupy Fights Foreclosures chanted over a bullhorn as the parade passed one of its big bank sponsors along Colorado Blvd: “Hey Wells Fargo, You Can’t Hide! We Can See Your Greedy Eyes!” The protestors shamed Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and other Wall St gamblers for continuing to profit while Main St Americans lose their homes. Thousands of spectators remained in the grandstands to watch the unsanctioned post-parade.

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Jessica Lux
Los Angeles IndyMedia