PRO-WAR PROTEST OK'D FOR OSCAR SITE, BUT ANTI-WAR PROTEST BARRED
by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
HOLLYWOOD -- An Orange County-based coalition of Vietnamese Republicans announced Friday that they will demonstrate with a well-known homeless leader on Sunday the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Highland Ave., the site of the 75th Annual Academy Awards, even though that area is off-limits to protests, Hollywood Division Capt. Michael Downing toldf the American Reporter this afternoon.
Downing said the group of Vietnamese Republicans and homeless people would be allowed to demonstrate on the sidewalk.
"This group will be the least of our problems," Downing said.
Downing said he expects only about 30 demonstrators from the group, led by Ted Hayes, a longtime spokesman for homeless causes. Hayes is heading what a press release called "a pro-freedom/anti-terrorism cadre of demonstrators" with Orange County Republican organizations including the Young Americans for Freedom youth group that will demonstrate from 4pm to 6pm PST on Sunday. The Oscars start at 5pm local time.
"America is the only nation on earth that has the power, both militarily and morally, to liberate the oppressed throughout the world. We must do all we can to remove the dictators and free every captive they hold, especially those captives considered to be the Homeless. To do less, would be immoral," Hayes said in a press release.
Another, larger group demonstrating against the war has been relegated to an area near Sunset and Orange Ave., nearly a half-mile from the awards.
Awards director Gil Cates today said that plans for the Oscars annual telecast are going forward but remain "flexible," as circumstances may warrant changes, he said. He said "only one or two" celebrities had canceled their planned appearances, and only a normal number of tickets had been turned in by studio representatives not planning to attend. Actress and presenter Susan Sarandon said she will not use the awards ceremony, hosted by Steve Martin, as an opportunity to air her views against the war.
Also in Los Angeles, a colorful group of female peace activists who call themselves "CodePink" announced this afternoon that they will stage a protest on this third day of demonstrations at the Federal Building in Westwood, close to the UCLA campus and at a major intersection that has been tied up by demonstrators at rush hour for the past two days.
The group promised "A dramatic display of grief and mourning in white face, dressed in black with a dash of pink for their desire for peace" at the intersection of Veteran Ave. and Wislhire Blvd. at 5pm Friday (PST).
Meanwhile, outrage continued to grow at the televised beating of female photographers at Wednesday's demonstration at the same site, which is now the subject of a police investigation. Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez wrote, "A power-hitting right-handed cop took batting practice on a couple of war protesters near the federal building in Westwood on Wednesday. His handiwork was captured live on KCAL-TV 9, giving him the distinction of leading off the news on the first night of bombing. "... It was a 'decapitation attack,' if I might borrow from the jargon that has commandeered both the language and the national psyche in a matter of hours. The officer saw a "target of opportunity," and he took his best shot, launching the "shock and awe" portion of the campaign," Lopez wrote in his popular "Points West" column. "It's under investigation as we speak," said Officer Renee Montoya of the LAPD's media relation's unit said at 2:00pm (PST) Friday afternoon.
Some 1,350 San Francisco protestors who blocked traffic, broke windows and threw rocks and bottles at police were arrested yesterday in a fierce demonstration of 10,000 people. Another 150 were arrested Friday. About 100,000 people also marched for peace in Athens, Greece on Friday.
Some 30 protestors who blocked a key bridge in Portland, Ore., were also arrested after an all-night protest on Friday morning.