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Free Palestine March Set for Los Angeles Ahead of Oscars: “No Awards During a Genocide”

A Free Palestine march, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, is set to hit Los Angeles on Sunday ahead of the 2024 Oscars.

The protest has been called by a group of organizers, artists and film workers in collaboration with Writers Against the War on Gaza LA (WAWOG), Film Workers for Palestine, SAG-AFTRA Members for Ceasefire and many others, as they say, “No awards during a genocide!”

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The organizers say they expect hundreds of people to show up to rally, march, blockade and disrupt, as they demand an immediate and permanent ceasefire. They also call for an end to what they say is “the blockade of Gaza and the occupation of Palestine.”

Film Workers for Palestine shared a statement on Instagram in collaboration with Jewish Voice for Peace’s L.A. chapter, calling people to meet at the Cinerama Dome at 1 p.m. PT Sunday for the march.

“We will not be distracted by the entertainment industry,” the caption of the post read. “We WILL continue to call for a permanent ceasefire and Palestinian liberation. Let’s mobilize and take the streets to show that we refuse to look away from this ongoing genocide! Ceasefire NOW!”

Not only is Sunday the Academy Awards but also the first day of Ramadan, which is a holiday for the majority of Gazans. It is also the day Israel is set to start its ground invasion of Rafah, a small city in the southern Gaza Strip where over a million Palestinians have been forced to shelter.

The news of the Oscars march comes after an Israel-Hamas War protest took place outside of the 2024 Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica on Feb. 25. Protesters were outside the tent playing previously recorded chants on a megaphone, like “free Palestine,” “Long live Palestine” and “ceasefire now.”

According to The New York Times, earlier this week, Commander Randy Goddard of the Los Angeles Police Department noted that they would be heightening security at this year’s awards ceremony after hearing rumblings there would be protests.

“It’s going to be our goal to ensure that the Academy Awards is successful, that guests can arrive safely and get into the venue,” said Goddard, who is leading the department’s management of the Oscars. “But, also, we are going to try very hard to make contact with the groups as they show up, and lay out the expectation that we as the police are here to support your First Amendment constitutional rights.”

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to the LAPD for comment. The Academy declined to comment.

This won’t be the first year Hollywood’s biggest night takes place amid a divisive war. The 2003 Oscars took place three days after the U.S. invaded Iraq, weeks after stars like Matt Damon, George Clooney, Jessica Lange and Helen Hunt signed a letter that urged President George W. Bush not to attack the country.

Presenters bowed out at the last minute; nominees chose not to show up; the guests who attended did not stop along the red carpet and were asked to wear darker, more subdued outfits; and the night was filled with comments about the war from the likes of Adrien Brody, Nicole Kidman and Chris Cooper.

Similarly, celebrities today have been outspoken about the Israel-Hamas War, with many calling for a ceasefire since October, just weeks after the initial Hamas attack that launched the conflict. Andrew Garfield, Kristen Stewart, Oscar Isaac, Quinta Brunson, Ayo Edebiri, Cate Blanchett, Hasan Minhaj, Jeremy Strong and Joaquin Phoenix, among many others, signed a letter calling for an “immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost.”

During a conversation with THR ahead of the 96th annual Academy Awards, Oscars telecast showrunner Raj Kapoor opened up about how he and his fellow producers were preparing for any possible protests or disruptions on Sunday.

“There are a lot of plans in place and hundreds of people involved in those type of decisions,” he said. “There’s a formal plan, but, in the end, there are a few people that will make key decisions in a very short amount of time if anything happens. There’s a lot of thought that goes into every single piece of this show. That’s why it is the Oscars. That’s why it’s a global show because every nuance is actually thought about ahead of time.”

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