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1,000 demonstrators in Hollywood block traffic during Gaza protest before Oscars rally

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Approximately 1,000 protesters gathered in Hollywood on Sunday ahead of the 2024 Academy Awards ceremony to demand an immediate cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas conflict. This demonstration caused frustration for Oscars organizers and led to traffic congestion in the area. As the ceremony approached, dozens of vehicles carrying attendees were stuck on Highland Avenue as the protesters blocked the streets near the Dolby Theatre.

Prior to the start of the ceremony at 4 p.m., an organizer urged cars to move through the intersection at Sunset Boulevard and Highland, where the ceremony was set to take place. Some attendees abandoned their vehicles and made their way to the venue on foot. By the time the ceremony began, the police had managed to clear the access routes for smoother traffic flow.

The protesters had started gathering hours earlier at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Ivar Avenue, about a mile away from the theater. They then moved onto Sunset Boulevard, occupying the eastbound side of the street, waving Palestinian flags and chanting slogans calling for action.

Two men holding flags stand face to face.

An Israel supporter stands on the sidewalk as a protester shares views Sunday in Hollywood.

(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

The crowd proceeded to march westward on Sunset Boulevard, with police in riot gear monitoring the situation closely at various intersections. They chanted slogans and carried posters urging the Oscar audience to take note of the ongoing conflict and the impact of their entertainment on real-world crises.

Security measures were heightened around the Dolby Theatre, with increased police presence and strict checkpoints for attendees. The atmosphere was tense as protesters voiced their concerns about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza resulting from the conflict.

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Among the protesters were individuals with personal connections to the region, like Miguel Camnitzer, a member of Jewish Voice for Peace of Los Angeles, who spoke about his familial ties to Holocaust survivors and his commitment to preventing genocide in any form.

Similarly, Sarah Jacobus, a mentor for young writers, expressed her urgent need to support her mentees in Palestine, who are facing dire circumstances including lack of basic necessities like food and water.

Members of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television Radio Artists also joined the demonstration to show solidarity with Palestinians and call for a cease-fire. One anonymous actress revealed the plight of her relatives in Gaza and criticized Hollywood for its alleged complicity and discrimination against those who speak out in support of Palestine.

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has resulted in numerous casualties and a humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with international efforts failing to bring about a lasting peace agreement. The dire situation has left many Palestinians in jeopardy, with limited access to essential aid supplies.

Despite challenges and obstacles, protesters around the world continue to rally for peace and justice, urging world leaders to take action and end the violence in the region.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Two individuals sought for causing damage to popular rock formations at Lake Mead

lake mead rocks being damaged 0424

Las Vegas — Federal authorities are seeking the help of the public in identifying two men responsible for damaging rock formations at a national recreation site in Nevada.Officials at Lake Mead National Recreation Area announced on social media that the incident occurred over a recent weekend near the Redstone Dune Trail on the north side of the lake. The petrified red dunes in this area are a popular hiking destination within the park.A video shared by CBS Las Vegas affiliate KLAS-TV, which has since gone viral, shows two men pushing chunks of sandstone off an outcropping while a girl can be heard screaming. Park officials have condemned this behavior as appalling, emphasizing that the damage caused is irreversible.


lake-mead-rocks-being-damaged-0424.jpg
An image from a video recorded on the evening of April 7 shows two men vandalizing popular rock formations.
National Park Service / Facebook

“It’s one of my favorite places in the park, and they’re up there just destroying it. I don’t understand that,” said John Haynes, public information officer at Lake Mead National Recreation Area in an interview with television station KVVU.

Haynes also emphasized that destruction of this nature at federally protected sites can lead to felony charges, resulting in potential fines and jail time. Spanning 2,344 square miles of mountains and desert canyons, the Lake Mead National Recreation Area is a popular destination just outside Las Vegas, attracting around 6 million visitors annually. Due to staffing levels, park officials often rely on the public to help monitor resources within the park boundaries.

Visitors are urged to use their cellphones to capture videos or photos of any suspicious activity, provided it is safe to do so, and to gather any information, such as license plate numbers, that could aid in identifying the offenders. The National Park Service operates a tip line that receives numerous submissions each year. The tip line number is 888-653-0009, and an online reporting option is also available.

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“It’s crucial to inform us of any such incidents,” Haynes added.

Over the past decade, there have been several cases of vandalism on federal land across the Western United States, with visitors defacing petroglyphs, toppling rock formations, and damaging centuries-old rock art.

 

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