Monday, July 6, 2009

L.A. Braces for MJ Memorial Crowds

Police are bracing for a huge crowd of fans expected to turn out to the Michael Jackson memorial and are warning those without tickets to stay away.

About 1.6 million people registered to be one of 17,500 people inside the memorial at the Staples Center sports arena in downtown Los Angeles Tuesday or to watch it on large video screens at a nearby theater.

Fans who won tickets were to be told by e-mail on Sunday. The company sponsoring the event will pick 8,750 names from a list of online lottery entrants each winner will receive two tickets.

A family spokesman declined to give details of the event, such as who might eulogize Jackson or which of the King of Pop's celebrity friends may perform. He did not offer specifics of a separate, private family funeral, and police told Reuters they did not have any information about the private ceremony, either.

Assistant Los Angeles Police Chief Jim McDonnell said he expected the public memorial to last about two hours, and as police did last Friday, urged Jackson fans to stay away unless they have tickets.

"If they want to watch it, they will need to find a TV and a place to watch it," McDonnell said, adding that blocks around the venues will be cordoned off.

Police will close streets around the Staples Center, but are still anticipating groups of onlookers and fans from all around the world who did not get tickets to show up.

Asked if police will wear riot gear, McDonnell said no, but added that police will "use crowd management" techniques if that is necessary. He said he expected that the police will be able to handle a big crowd if one shows.

The event is expected to be broadcast live on U.S. television and streamed on the Internet.

Source: Reuters

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