Expecting Protests at the Oscars, Police Plan to Beef Up Security

The Los Angeles police said it would increase its presence at the Academy Awards on Sunday night to make sure that potential protests related to the Israel-Hamas war do not disrupt the Oscars ceremony.

Cmdr. Randy Goddard of the Los Angeles Police Department said it had gathered intelligence, based partially on social media posts, suggesting that at least one group “would like to stop the Academy Awards.”

“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 Commander Goddard, the police official 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.”

Some groups may try to block traffic or use other disruptive measures that demonstrators have leveraged at other events around the country, he said. Others may focus their efforts closer to the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, where the Oscars take place.

Commander Goddard said the department would “build out more resources” to “help facilitate” any march or demonstration, but emphasized that it would not allow protesters to break the law or prevent guests from arriving safely to the Oscars. “We’re hopefully going to find that middle ground,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. in Los Angeles said it maintained a presence at special events, including the Academy Awards, to share intelligence and to support its partners at the Los Angeles police.

At this year’s Grammys, a few dozen pro-Palestinian protesters demonstrated outside Arena, briefly blocking traffic by the drop-off area. A pro-Palestine protester with a loudspeaker stood outside the Independent Spirit Awards in Santa Monica last month.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which is hosting its 96th Oscars on Sunday, has dealt with disruptions over the years. Security has long been tight at the Oscars, which draws some of the world’s biggest stars to a live telecast viewed by millions of people.

Commander Goddard said the Dolby Theater itself, which is secured by the Academy, is protected by railings, fencing, checkpoints and almost 2,000 private security guards. “My objective is to get the guests safely inside that venue,” he said.

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