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RI Governor Gives Public Half-Hour Notice For ‘Holiday Tree’ Lighting

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The 2011 'Holiday Tree' lighting drew protests from people who wanted it to be referred to as a Christmas tree.

The 2011 ‘Holiday Tree’ lighting drew protests from people who wanted it to be referred to as a Christmas tree.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee gave the public 30 minutes’ notice for this year’s tree lighting ceremony at the Statehouse, saying he wanted to avoid what happened last year when protesters crashed the event and it devolved into chaos.

Chafee’s office announced at 11:31 a.m. on Thursday that the governor would host a lighting of the tree at noon. Typically, several days’ notice is given for such events.

Chafee said before flipping the switch at the sparsely attended ceremony that he gave short notice this year because last year the event turned into a “disrespectful gathering.”

Protesters who opposed Chafee’s use of the term “holiday tree,” rather than “Christmas tree,” last year crashed the ceremony and interrupted a children’s chorus with their own rendition of “O Christmas Tree.”

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
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