There was forbidden dancing again, Saturday, at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C. And it was a much larger crowd than last week. But this time there were no arrests.
At the peak, more than 50 people danced around the statue of Thomas Jefferson inside the memorial building that overlooks the Tidal Basin in the nation's capital. One week earlier, five dancers were arrested at the same site. They were protesting a court ruling which upholds a ban on dancing inside the historical site. Home videos posted on the internet show U.S. Park Police officers throwing one man to the ground and briefly choking him.
That man, Adam Kokesh, came back Saturday. Asked by a reporter if he'd applied for a permit for a new demonstration, Kokesh pulled out a copy of the U.S. Constitution and said, "Actually I got a permit. It's the same one I swore an oath to when I enlisted in the Marine Corps. And it says something about 'freedom of assembly.' Which means you don't need permission from anybody to come together and speak your mind."
Using social media sites, the pro-dance crowd enlisted an eclectic group of supporters. Some wore anarchist shirts. Some wore Ron Paul shirts.
After about ten minutes of dancing, helmeted police officers arrived inside the Jefferson Memorial and ordered the public to leave, saying the site was closed because of the demonstration. Police officers also warned the dancers to leave, and gradually, almost all of them did. Three dancers remained more than 40 minutes after the demonstration began. Police issued a final warning, and the last three then left. No arrests were made.
Most of the dancers declared victory. "[The police] didn't bring out their guns, their sticks. So, in the end, we did it. And we won," declared Ingrid Dean of Saverna Park, Maryland. Asked if she would come again to participate in a forbidden dance, Dean replied, "Hell yeah!"
Park Police officers said dancing and other demonstrations are permitted on most of the grounds of the memorial, but not inside the rotunda where the statue of Jefferson stands.
An internal unit is investigating the conduct of the officers during the arrests made last week. Those officers remain on duty.