Oscars in chaos as thousands of Gaza protestors block traffic and celebs forced to walk | Films | Entertainment

Thousands protesters took to the streets of  on Sunday ahead of the 2024 ceremony to call for an immediate cease-fire in the .

Demonstrators started gathering at about 1 p.m. at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Ivar Avenue, a few blocks east of the Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard, where hundreds of A-listers were set to converge to celebrate the biggest movies of the year at the Oscars ceremony, scheduled to start at 4 p.m.

Many waved Palestinian flags, completely occupying the eastbound side of the street while about 40 police in riot gear stood vigilant at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Las Palmas Avenue, just one block west of the crowd.

“Free free Palestine!” the crowd chanted as they waved dozens of posters showing a movie slate — painted in black, white, green and red, the colors of the Palestinian flag — with a message to the Oscar audience: “While you’re watching, bombs are dropping.”

Some also gathered around the Hollywood Boulevard exit off the nearby 101 Freeway and at the intersection of Sunset and Vine, while more rallied on La Brea and Franklin avenues, near the Dolby Theatre, waving signs with the words “Cease-fire now.”

Read more: Oscars 2024 red carpet: Best dressed live – stars begin to arrive

“Let’s shut it down!” some protesters chanted as they rounded on Sunset Boulevard.

The crowd then moved westward on the boulevard led by a white van with half a dozen people on top chanting into a microphone and megaphone.

Security is tight in and around the theater, with Los Angeles police bolstering patrols in the area in anticipation of protests.

Attendees of the event must pass through three checkpoints and a number of steel barriers before approaching the red carpet.

Earlier reports claimed the police would throw a physical “ring of steel” around Sunday night’s Oscar ceremony to thwart terror threats and expected mass protests in Hollywood.

More than a mile of eight-foot-high chain link fencing and scores of crush barriers surround the Academy Awards at LA’s Dolby Theatre, where more than 500 uniformed officers are supported by a small army of 2,000 private security guards.

FBI counter-terrorism experts are also reportedly on standby as a huge stretch of famous Hollywood Boulevard is completely closed off to the public, with scores of CCTV cameras and surveillance drones monitoring the entire area.

LAPD Commander Randy Goddard, who is leading the biggest-ever security operation in Oscar history, said his officers will maintain a high-profile presence to “prevent disruptions by demonstrators.”

He added: “The LAPD is preparing for all potential protests, including protests regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict. The LAPD will also manage any potential blockades around the venue to make sure that guests can safely enter. Officers are working closely with event organisers and security agencies, implementing comprehensive measures to ensure a safe Oscars experience for all.”

Pro-Palestine demonstrations caused massive delays to guests arriving at last month’s Grammy Awards in LA and Academy chiefs have vowed to avoid similar disruption tonight.

A spokesman also confirmed there will be no attempts to “censor” winners’ speeches if they refer to the Middle East turmoil that has divided Tinseltown.

Several stars are expected to wear yellow ribbons in support of hostages.

Others, including Bradley Cooper and Mark Ruffalo – both of whom are nominees tonight – are among 260 stars who have signed a letter urging President Biden and Congress to demand an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

On stage tonight, British hopes will be led by Oppenheimer filmmaker Christopher Nolan, who could break his Oscar duck, despite five previous nominations, by walking away with three golden statuettes – for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay.

Oppenheimer star Emily Blunt, 41, could add to the movie’s impressive awards haul with a win as Best Supporting Actress while fellow Londoner Carey Mulligan, 38, is considered a strong contender to land Best Actress for her role in Maestro.

Source link