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Pre-Oscars ‘Free Palestine’ March Planned by Hollywood Writers, Actors, Film Workers: ‘We Refuse to Look Away From This Ongoing Genocide’

A Free Palestine march calling for a ceasefire in Gaza is planned for Hollywood on Oscars night this Sunday. The event has been organized by Writers Against the War on Gaza L.A. (WAWOG), Film Workers for Palestine, SAG-AFTRA for Ceasefire and others. In a joint statement from Film Workers for Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace’s L.A. chapter on Instagram, they wrote, “Let’s mobilize and take the streets to show that we refuse to look away from this ongoing genocide!”

The march is set to begin at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Cinerama Dome in Hollywood. Across town in Beverly Hills, a different type of political event will be held. Hollywood producers Matti Leshem and Lynn Harris have organized an installation projecting the photos of those still being held hostage by Hamas, following the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel, on a building next to the Vanity Fair Oscars night party.

Sunday is the first day of Ramadan, Islam’s holiest month of the year. Israel previously announced its planned ground invasion of Rafah will begin on the same day, barring a deal being reached between Israel and Hamas for a temporary ceasefire. Approximately 1.5 million people from Gaza are currently sheltering in the city.

Police in Los Angeles have made plans to increase their numbers ahead of the Oscars, as they do every year, with streets around the awards themselves shut down for security. Commander Randy Goddard of the Los Angeles Police Department told the New York Times, “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.”

“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 march follows similar protests at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and outside the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

The protest organizers’ statement reads in full, “JOIN US! 1 pm at the Cinerama Dome (6370 Sunset Blvd). The Oscars are coming up this Sunday — the same day that Israel has threatened to invade Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering.”

“We at JVPLA along with our friends at Adalah Justice Project, Filmworkers for Palestine, SAG-AFTRA Members for Ceasefire, artists, autonomous organizers, and the people of LA, are rising up to say EYES ON RAFAH!”

The statement concludes, “We will not be distracted by the entertainment industry. 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!”

In February, U.N. spokesperson Jens Laerke explained of a potential invasion, “To be clear, intensified hostilities in Rafah in this situation could lead to large-scale loss of civilian lives, and we must do everything possible within our power to avoid that.”

On Thursday, Hiba Tibi, the CARE Country Director for the West Bank and Gaza, wrote on the organization’s website, “People in Gaza have had to flee four, five, or more times. Their homes are piles of rubble, their livelihoods shattered, leaving them with little to call their own, let alone to share with others. Ramadan, this year, is overcast by the profound losses endured by 2.3 million people, ravaged by five months of brutal conflict, deprivation, and displacement.”

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