Another Flashmob Gets Footloose at Jefferson Memorial

No arrests this time around

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Tom Sherwood

    Last week, five men got cuffed at the Jefferson Memorial for doing a silent dance.

    The men said they were exercising their rights as citizens to free speech.  The Park Police said they were breaking a law recently reaffirmed in court.

    This past weekend, the dancers were back.  And they brought a posse.

    The five original arrestees, whose dance moves earned them arrests and a few body checks, put out a national call for dancers to come to a "Party at TJ's."  Backed by civil liberty group CODEPINK, they worked to get the word out for more people to join in another session of expressive dancing.

    No Dancing

    [DC] No Dancing
    Five people were arrested for dancing at the Jefferson Memorial. (Published Sunday, May 29, 2011)

    NBC Washington's Tom Sherwood said protesters arrived at the Memorial from across the country.  One person told NBC he had traveled all the way from California to attend the event.

    Park Police also arrived in force on Saturday morning, in anticipation of the dance-off.  Sherwood said most of the law enforcement was keeping a low profile, except for one officer, who stood watch carrying an assault rifle.

    The dance party drew hundreds of spectators and dozens of dancers.

    Police asked the gathered crowd to clear the rotunda shortly after 12 p.m, but around 20 remained, including a man wearing an oversized Thomas Jefferson head.  Those who stayed inside the memorial boogied in front of Thomas Jefferson's statue, as the crowd chanted "TJ, TJ."

    Authorities gave the stragglers three warnings to leave the rotunda.  They reported that after the final request to leave, all of the dancers had cleared the interior of the memorial.