Hollywood protestors called for a cease-fire in the Israel-Hamas war on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 15. Hundreds flooded the major intersection of Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue, forcing the Los Angeles Police Department to close the area to traffic.

The Hollywood and Highland intersection is a major tourist attraction, as it contains the Dolby Theater and the TLC Chinese Theater, among other famous sites. Many demonstrators sat down in the street, effectively shutting the area down. The LAPD closed Hollywood Boulevard between Orange Drive and Las Palmas and Highland Avenue between Franklin Place and Sunset Boulevard. The disruption in the flow of traffic caused frustration for drivers, who were encouraged to seek alternate routes and avoid the area.

“The LAPD’s objective is to ensure public safety for ALL while facilitating the First Amendment rights of those peacefully demonstrating,” the agency said in a statement. “Equally, the Department will enforce the law when individuals engage in acts of violence.” No arrests were made at the Wednesday protest, and no acts of violence were reported. Roads were cleared by 9 pm that night.

The protest was organized by the groups Jewish Voice for Peace and IfNotNow, who released a joint statement ahead of the demonstration. The news release stated that the Hollywood and Highland protest would be “one of the largest-ever acts of civil disobedience in Los Angeles. It will take place in Hollywood, which has long been a site of organizing for labor rights, critiquing of state violence, and storytelling that speaks truth to power—of which Jewish creatives have often been part.”

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The same groups have organized similar demonstrations across the country, particularly in Washington, D.C., to catch policymakers’ attention. Also on Wednesday, protestors gathered outside the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, calling for a cease-fire in the Gaza Strip. U.S. Capitol police responded to the demonstration and claimed that the group of 150 was “illegally and violently protesting.” Several members of Congress were evacuated from the building as tensions escalated. 

The Capitol police and protestors have put forth conflicting accounts of the protest. Demonstrators have claimed that the police rushed them without warning, already armed in riot gear, and began pushing and pulling people to the ground at random. Democratic Representative Brad Sherman of California took to Twitter to accuse protestors of “pepper spraying police officers and attempting to break into the building.” Those who attended the protest denied that was the case, saying that the objective was to position themselves near entrances and exits so that committee members would witness a peaceful, candlelight vigil. Footage has since been released showing police locked in an intense scuffle with protestors and attempting to control a chaotic scene.

The conflict between Israel and Hamas has escalated in violence following the devastating attack on October 7 earlier this year. Hamas’ reprehensible actions toward innocent civilians in Israel shocked the world and invited many differing opinions about fraught relations between Israel and Palestine. The United States’ decision to support Israel continues to cause tension socially and politically across the nation.