RI gov. gives short notice to avoid tree protest
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee (CHAY'-fee) 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. Several days' notice typically 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 oppose 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."