Small protest gets lost at parade

A small protest at the Nevada Day parade went largely unnoticed Saturday.

In fact, the protesters missed their target, Washoe tribal chairman Brian Wallace, who had already passed by the time the protest was set up.

Despite talk among Nevada Day organizers of possibly canceling this year's event to avoid disruption stemming from the protest, the parade went off without a hitch.

Three or four tribe members gathered on the steps of the Legislative Building with small signs and a lawn chair. They were unseen by most of the 25,000 people along the parade route.

Those who showed up were protesting the performance of Wallace, who was elected to his fourth term Oct. 19. Official results for the election are pending grievances filed by tribe members.

Wallace represented the Washoe Tribe in this year's parade as a grand marshal along with tribal chairmen from the Shoshone Nation and Northern and Southern Paiute nations.

"We didn't expect his float to pass until later," said Steve Wyatt, protest organizer. "We were going to boo and hold up our signs, but we missed our chance. He caught us off guard."

Legislative Police Chief Gary Metz said no disturbance occurred at the parade at all.

"Steve Wyatt approached us and guaranteed there would be no problems. He said they would be peaceful," he said. "We're not going to cause them any problems unless they cause a problem."

Wyatt said there never should have been a concern.

"The people in the parade committee went truly overboard in overstating the size of the protest," he said. "We're here like we said we would be, and there's no riot, no violence.

Wyatt and the other protesters, Kathryn Rogers, Leda Wyatt and Althea Escobar, said voters known to be in opposition to Wallace were removed from the eligible voters' list.

"I don't know if it was tactical or if it was a mistake, but there's a lot of us that weren't allowed to vote," said Escobar.

Election night observer Leda Wyatt said Wallace and another candidate were neck and neck until the very end of the ballot counting.

"Then there were 30 right in a row for Brian. That's pretty suspicious right there," she said.

"I was there and I was counting the votes myself."

Neither Wallace nor Washoe Tribal elections chairman Steven Dressler could be reached for comment.


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