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Rhode Island Holiday Tree Lighting: Gov. Lincoln Chafee Gives Short Notice To Avoid Protest

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A tree referred to as a "holiday tree" by Gov. Lincoln Chafee is lit up in the rotunda of the statehouse in Providence, R.I. Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011. The Rhode Island Statehouse hosted dueling tree lightings as Gov. Chafee and Republican State Rep. Doreen Costa battle over whether to call the official state spruce a "holiday" tree or a "Christmas" tree. The governor's decision to call the tree a 'holiday' tree prompted Costa to bring her own tree to the capitol. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) | AP

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- 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."

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