A group of protesters gathered outside City Hall in West Hollywood on Monday afternoon (April 22) to demand the release of pop star Britney Spears from a psychiatric facility. Carrying “Free Britney” signs and chanting “Hands off, Britney” and “Justice for Britney” about a dozen fans took to the corner of Santa Monica Blvd. and N. Sweetzer Ave. Almost as many news crews arrived to document the protesters, which was also live-streamed. The group’s position: that Spears is being kept from making decisions on her own behalf. The location chosen does not appear to have any particular significance.
Spears checked into a facility in late March after suffering from emotional distress, a source confirmed to Variety. On Easter Sunday, she was granted a one-day leave to celebrate the holiday with her family, People reported. Spears was photographed leaving the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills on April 21.
Spears has been troubled over the past year by her father’s health crisis. Jamie Spears recently underwent a second surgery to fix a ruptured colon.
In November, the “…Baby, One More Time” pop star put her Las Vegas residency on hold to look after her dad. She wrote on Instagram: “A couple of months ago, my father was hospitalized and almost died. We’re all so grateful that he came out of it alive, but he still has a long road ahead of him. I had to make the difficult decision to put my full focus and energy on my family at this time.”
Spears’ mental issues date back to 2007 when the pop star infamously shaved her head and attacked the paparazzi with an umbrella. She later checked into the psych ward at UCLA’s Medical Center. That same year, superfan Chris Crocker became a viral sensation with his video pleading for the world to “Leave Britney alone.”