More than 500 supporters of LGBTQ rights in Washington, D.C., marched, danced, and chanted two miles from the shopping district of Friendship Heights to the Chevy Chase home of Vice President-elect and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence Wednesday evening–two days before he is sworn in as vice president.
“We’re here to send a clear message to Mike Pence that we are here, we are queer, and we are dancing, and we will not tolerate hatred or bigotry in our country,” said Firas Nasr, the founding organizer of WERK for Peace. WERK for Peace describes itself as a “queer-based grassroots movement that uses dance to promote peace.”
Nasr said when he saw the people watching from the sidewalks, windows, and doorways, he was not surprised by the generous welcome the marchers received. “We are preaching love, and we are here to spread love and self-acceptance and community–and so we welcome them in our community.”
The District of Columbia permitted the protest and provided at least five motorcycle police officers to escort the marchers along the route and manage the flow of traffic.
A dozen individuals were wearing the green ball caps of the National Lawyers Guild, a left-wing organization of legal professionals who patrol progressive events on behalf of the participants.
Carla Aronsohn said Pence has attacked rights for LGBTQ people, as well as programs to provide Americans with housing and health care.
“He needs to know that that is why we are in his neighborhood,” she said. “This stuff affects our lives deeply. Literally, it kills us, so we can’t have some relaxed, permitted march in a caged-in space. We need to be in a bigger space.”
Along the route, the protesters stopped at intersections to have mini-dance parties behind the gray pickup truck that blared the music. The longest stop was in front of the Chevy Chase Baptist Church, where the revelers formed a large circle in front of the church and danced. When the marchers came to the Roman Catholic Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, they did not stop.
The Secret Service, Metropolitan Police, and U.S. Marshals did not have to tell the protesters not to go farther when they arrived at the intersection of Western and Tennyson Avenues in the city’s northwest quadrant.
A spokesman for the Secret Service told Breitbart News that the neighborhood surrounding the Pence residence was a protected site, and only those who resided there, along with their guests, were allowed past the barricades erected across Tennyson. Law enforcement personnel were on the scene, including a half-dozen bicycle cops standing behind a neighbor’s hedges.
For roughly 45 minutes, the protesters danced to club and dance songs emanating from the truck that had led the march:
Many neighbors came out to support the protest.
A man holding a Trump-Pence sign, who identified himself as Godding, told Breitbart News he had no idea there would be a protest through his neighborhood until he heard the drums.
As Godding stood quietly off to the side, a small band of protesters surrounded him and gyrated next to him. One of the protesters shouted at him, “We’re here! We’re queer! Don’t fuck with us!”
“I just think it is inappropriate in front of his house. That’s what I think,” he said. “I don’t mind people protesting. I don’t mind people having their own opinions, but they don’t need to be doing it in front of his house. It’s just inappropriate.”