Pro-Palestine Protesters Disrupt Traffic Before Oscars

Pro-Palestine Protesters Disrupt Traffic Before Oscars

Protesters gather during a demonstration in support of Palestinians calling for a ceasefire in Gaza as the 96th Academy Awards Oscars ceremony is held nearby, in the Hollywood section of Los Angeles, on March 10, 2024. (Etienne Laurent/AP Photo)

Jessamyn Dodd

Jessamyn Dodd

3/10/2024

Updated: 3/11/2024

Roughly 1,000 protesters flooded Hollywood on Sunday, just hours before the 2024 Academy Awards ceremony, demanding an immediate halt to the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Gathering initially in the hundreds at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Ivar Avenue, a stone’s throw from the Dolby Theatre where the Oscars were set to kick off, demonstrators soon swelled in numbers. They spilled onto Sunset Boulevard, brandishing Palestinian flags and occupying the entire eastbound lane. Amidst the sea of protesters, about 40 officers in riot gear stood watchful, positioned at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Las Palmas Avenue, as the crowd inched forward.
Prior to the event, LAPD Commander Randy Goddard informed The New York Times that at least one faction aimed to disrupt the Academy Awards.
“Our objective is to ensure the smooth functioning of the Academy Awards, enabling guests to arrive securely and access the venue,” Mr. Goddard stated.
“In addition, we will make concerted efforts to engage with the groups upon their arrival, emphasizing our role in safeguarding their constitutional right to freedom of speech.”
With chants of “Free free Palestine!” protesters waved posters depicting a movie slate painted in the colors of the Palestinian flag, delivering a message to the Oscar attendees: “While you’re watching, bombs are dropping.”
The demonstration expanded to multiple points around Hollywood, including the Hollywood Boulevard exit off the nearby 101 Freeway and the intersection of Sunset and Vine. Additional rallies sprang up on La Brea and Franklin avenues, near the Dolby Theatre, all echoing the urgent call for a cease-fire.
As the crowd surged along Sunset Boulevard, a white van led the procession, its roof occupied by activists broadcasting messages through microphones and megaphones. Security measures around the theater were tight, with Los Angeles police intensifying patrols in anticipation of protests. Attendees of the ceremony and after-party events navigated through three checkpoints and multiple steel barriers before reaching the red carpet.
Joining the chorus of voices demanding a cease-fire were members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television Radio Artists, prominently displaying their support through banners and placards.
However, not all protesters were willing to reveal their identities openly. A 35-year-old actress, born in Palestine, marched anonymously, citing fears of reprisal against her family and herself within the entertainment industry. She condemned what she perceived as Hollywood’s complicity and urged her union to take a stand in support of a cease-fire, which President Joe Biden has said the success of which is now in the hands of Hamas.
The demonstration in Hollywood reflects a wider global movement calling for a resolution to the ongoing war and hostages still held by Hamas. Despite recent aid initiatives, limited access to essential resources compounded the plight of those affected by the conflict and enduring the consequences.
In the meantime, the United Nations reported “reasonable grounds” to suspect that some victims of the attacks led by Hamas against Israel on Oct. 7 experienced rape and sexual assault. The U.N. team of experts, in their report, stated they found “clear and convincing” evidence indicating that some individuals taken captive were subjected to sexual violence, including rape and sexualized torture. They also highlighted the possibility of ongoing sexual violence.
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Jessamyn Dodd

Jessamyn Dodd

Author

Jessamyn Dodd is an experienced TV news anchor, reporter, and digital journalist covering entertainment, politics, and crime.

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