Photo essay: #FreeBritney fans on why they support the movement

A woman holds a small dog while wearing a red jumpsuit
“I think Britney deserves her life back. I came out here for women’s rights,” said Phoebe Price of Hollywood.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
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Outside a downtown Los Angeles courthouse Wednesday, demonstrators donned pink-accented “Free Britney” T-shirts and held signs calling for investigations of the singer’s management and security personnel, who have come under immense scrutiny following the buzzy release of FX/Hulu’s “Controlling Britney Spears” documentary.

More than an hour before the hearing began, protesters chanted: “What do we want? Free Britney! When do we want it? Now!” and “Britney’s body, Britney’s choice,” among other rallying cries.

One person wielded a sign bearing the words, “Britney doesn’t need a conservatorship. It needs her.”

A parade of camera crews and news trucks lined the sidewalks and streets as demonstrators called on the media to “Leave Britney alone!” By late morning, the #FreeBritney crowd had shut down Grand Avenue.

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Below, a few of the fans speak out.

A woman in a blue flight attendant costume holds a painting of Britney Spears
Nefertara Ozella of Los Angeles holds her painting of Britney Spears.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

“I am a lifelong fan of Britney’s. She inspired me to be a musician. I am bipolar, so I care about her health. I want her to be happy and I want her to be healthy and free.” — Nefertara Ozella

A man holds a small dog and a Free Britney sign
Brian Noland, 41, of Studio City with his dog Gizmo, left; fan Kevin Wu’s arm tattoo.
(Francine Orr/ Los Angeles Times)

“I am here because I have been a Britney fan since Day One. She has always made me really happy throughout the years, so I think it’s important that she is happy now.” — Brian Noland

A woman holds a sign that reads "Women in music should protect women music"
Melanie Veronica, 32, who recently moved from New York to Los Angeles.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

“I moved here from New York to revolutionize the music industry, free Britney Spears and end explosion of Hollywood.” — Melanie Veronica

A man wears a mask that says "#FreeBritney"
Chris Clear, 32, of Los Angeles.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

“I have been a Britney fan since I was a kid. I just want to see her happy.” — Chris Clear

A woman wears a pink cape and hat that says "Make Britney free again"
Elizabeth Reay of Los Angeles.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)
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“I am here because I feel passionately we should stop finally abusing women.” — Elizabeth Reay