D.C.

Adam Kokesh plans armed march on Washington for July 4

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A controversial Iraq war veteran, radio host and socially-outspoken activist who once led a dance party protest at the Jefferson Memorial is planning to come back to Washington.

Jefferson Memorial Dance Party: Dancers converge on monument

Jefferson Memorial Dance Party: Dancers converge on monument 12 Photos
Jefferson Memorial Dance Party: Dancers converge on monument

This time, he and his compatriots will be armed.

Adam Kokesh, a 31-year-old former United States Marine who has long spoken out against military intervention in Iraq and other controversial issues, is planning what he calls an "Open Carry March on Washington" to "put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny."

The march will be held on July 4, which would coincide with Independence Day activities in the District.

Kokesh's protest, which as of Tuesday afternoon had nearly 3,000 attendees, would involve he and marchers crossing the Memorial Bridge from Virginia into the District with loaded guns. Loaded guns, of course, are banned inside D.C. He says that if his group meets what he calls "physical resistance," the group will turn around and leave the city.

He also says he'll try to coordinate his march with Washington law enforcement officials.

Appearing on "NewsTalk with Bruce DePuyt" on Tuesday, D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier said that Kokesh nor any other organizer has filed a permit to conduct a march for July 4.

Lanier says that she's pleased to have anyone peacefully and lawfully march and protest through the District, but she repeatedly reinforced that Kokesh and his marchers would have to "know the rules of the game" before coming to Washington.

"We'll do everything that we can to make sure that everyone understands exactly what the rules of the game are before they march into a jurisdiction in which the actions they are taking may be illegal, and that there are consequences to those actions," Lanier said.

Lainer added that it this isn't the first time there has been a call to march through the streets of D.C. while armed. If Kokesh and his marchers follow the law, she says they'll have no problem, but if they violate criminal codes, police would have to respond appropriately.

"If you are coming here to protest government policy, great," Lanier said. "We're all for it. We'll work with you. We'll get you in and where you want to go. We'll facilitate you moving in and around the city.
"If you're coming here to break the law, then we're going to take action."

This would not be Kokesh's first go-around with law enforcement in the District. In May of 2011, Kokesh led a silent protest at the Jefferson Memorial, during which a crowd defied a court ruling that banned dancing on the grounds of the monument. Five people, including Kokesh, were arrested.

Video taken at the protest showed protesters being forcefully taken into custody.

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