Obama, road closures and protesters heading to Palm Springs for ASEAN summit
This weekend's summit of Asian leaders in Rancho Mirage — which President Obama will arrive to host on Friday, staying until Tuesday — means road closures in the Palm Springs area, plus crowds and activities that could disrupt local residents' regular routines.
Palm Springs police announced that the following roads will be closed to vehicles and pedestrians from 5 p.m. Thursday until 4 p.m. Tuesday:
- Kirk Douglas Way, between Ramon Road and El Cielo Road
- Airport Center Drive at Kirk Douglas Way
Police are telling drivers traveling to and from Palm Springs International Airport to use the main entrance at the intersection of Tahquitz Canyon Way and El Cielo Road.
Huge numbers of international news media and an estimated 1,000 protesters are expected to descend upon the Sunnylands resort in Rancho Mirage, where the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is holding its summit.
Obama is scheduled to arrive at Palm Springs International Airport aboard Air Force One at 11:40 a.m. Friday. He'll be joined at the summit by Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday and Tuesday.
The summit is intended to strengthen the new U.S.-ASEAN strategic partnership, forged last November during a presidential trip to Malaysia.
"This unprecedented gathering — the first hosted by the United States with the ASEAN leaders — builds on the deeper partnership that the United States has forged with ASEAN since 2009 and will further advance the administration's rebalance to Asia and the Pacific,'' the White House said in a statement.
Large numbers of protesters are expected to voice opposition to everything from Obama's deportation policies to the poor human rights records of some of the member nations, such as Cambodia and Vietnam.