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Fans wait for glimpse of Michael Jackson motorcade

July 7, 2009 | 10:16 am


Just moments before Michael Jackson’s body arrived near the 11th Street entrance to Staples Center, a subdued crowd of about 400 people without tickets were bellying up against the guardrails, straining to catch a glimpse of something, anything going on.

Waset Regir, 38, a freelance writer from Los Angeles, took stock of her emotions and anger as she stood with the sparse crowd at the corner of Flower and 11th streets. She said the city should have given fans a place to gather and grieve.

“For days, they’ve drilled it into everyone: Don’t come out. It’ll be better to watch it from home. For now, everyone is in their living room, crying at their TV screens rather than coming together here as Michael would have wanted it,” she said. “Look around, we’ve got hundreds of police being paid overtime with nothing to do.”

Regir, who was surrounded by vendors hawking T-shirts, posters, buttons and soft drinks, said she wasn’t discouraged by the warnings by city and police officials.

“There was no way I wouldn’t get as close as I possibly can,” she said. “They didn’t try to discourage people from paying tribute to Princess Di when she died, did they?”

--Louis Sahagun

Photo: The funeral procession for Michael Jackson makes its way into Staples Center in Los Angeles. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times