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Occupy Seattle Protests Could Interfere With Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony

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File photo of a Christmas tree. (Credit: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a Christmas tree. (Credit: Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images)

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SEATTLE, Wash. (CBS Seattle) — City officials have granted Occupy Seattle a permit to occupy Westlake Park for several hours on Black Friday, which could cause problems for both the retail operations located around the park, and the tree lighting ceremony scheduled later in the evening.

According to the official website for Seattle, the park is located in the heart of the city’s downtown shopping district.

“It’s the perfect spot to take a break and admire the fountain or watch shoppers as they visit the Westlake mall and the surrounding retail stores,” the site adds.

The movement’s website encourages participants to “Occupy Black Friday.”

“We invite you to forgo the shopping frenzy and participate instead in a day of protest, community, education, creativity and caring,” the call to action reads. “We also invite you to demonstrate against all that is wrong with corporate America and participate in a day of protest and education at area Wal-Marts as Occupy Seattle acts with other Occupy (m)ovements around the state!”

The schedule outlines a day of protest starting at noon and ending at 5 p.m., staying within the times allowed in the permit issued by the city on Tuesday. The ceremony begins at 5 p.m., just after the permit ends, but a concern of overlap exists all the same.

However, those with the movement do not plan to interfere with any of the evening holiday celebrations.

“We have nothing planned to disrupt … the carousel (in the park) or the Christmas celebration,” said Mark Taylor-Canfield, a representative of Occupy Seattle, to CBS Seattle.

The tree lighting traditionally draws crowds in the thousands, and serves as the culmination of a day of holiday celebration throughout the city that also involves a parade and the lighting of the Macy’s star.

Several attempts were made by CBS Seattle to reach the Seattle Police Department.

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