Sixteen people protesting a SeaWorld float in the Rose Parade on January 1 were arrested, according to the Pasadena Police Department.
The SeaWorld float, which depicted a boy snorkeling above sea life including orcas, was surrounded by heavy security throughout the parade.
As the float headed toward the grandstand on Orange Grove Boulevard, several protesters with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals ran in front of the float, wearing shirts reading “SeaWorld Hurts Orcas” and waving signs urging the boycott of the amusement park.
Pasadena police officers and Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies quickly detained the protesters and removed them from the parade route.
A spokeswoman for the police department said 15 adults and one juvenile were arrested on suspicion of “interfering with a special event,” a misdemeanor violation of the city’s municipal code. They were cited and released.
Later Wednesday morning, several deputies confronted other PETA protesters carrying a small blimp emblazoned with the words “SeaWorld Tortures Orcas.”
One of the deputies grabbed the craft, bending the propeller and cutting his finger as the blades whirred to life. After threatening to arrest the trio, deputies allowed the protesters to leave with the blimp, which had been damaged and could not fly. The deputy was treated at the scene.
The entertainment park has faced renewed scrutiny since last year’s release of “Blackfish,” a documentary questioning its treatment of orcas, or killer whales.