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Almost a year after the Stop the Machine rally began in D.C.’s Freedom Plaza, a new protest is planned for Monday. But this time, according to the National Park Service, they better not sleep.
The protest, which is being billed as a “one year anniversary dance party,” has 190 confirmed attendees on Facebook. Protesters will be joined on Freedom Plaza by the Occupy D.C. “reoccupation,” which starts tomorrow. Demonstrators at the dance party will focus on the plight of veterans and WikiLeaks leaker Bradley Manning, according to organizer John Penley.
“We’re concerned about veterans’ suicides,” Penley says. “We’re concerned about the backlog in disability claims for veterans.”
The dance-party theme was an easy choice, according to Penley. “We like to party, being vets,” he says. “We figured that we’d rather do something fun in support of Bradley Manning, instead of just marching and getting arrested, which is what we’ve been doing.”
Not that there won’t be some marching. On Tuesday, protesters plan to rally in front of the Department of Veterans Affairs for 24 hours.
Penley says that some protesters are planning to sleep in Freedom Plaza, despite organizers’ opposition. If they do, though, National Park Service spokeswoman Carol Johnson says the Park Police will get involved.
“It’s a vigil,” Johnson says. “It’s not a nap.”
Photo by Darrow Montgomery