The activist who threatened to lead an armed march on Washington on July 4 has canceled the event but is urging people to converge on the 50 state capitols to protest gun regulations, according to his recent appearance on an Internet talk show.
“Please don’t come to Washington, D.C. Appeal on a state level,” Adam Kokesh, an Iraq war veteran, said in an interview Tuesday on “The Pete Santilli Show.” “We shouldn’t be begging the government to change. We should be hoping they respect our rights.”
In the interview, which was first reported by the Media Matters Web site, Kokesh said a friend is coordinating the state protests. It was unclear whether people were being urged to come armed.
“We have a couple of tricks up our sleeve in terms of what’s going to be happening the day of the event,” Kokesh said. “People can do whatever they want, whatever they feel is appropriate in their home state.”
Kokesh’s original plans for at least 1,000 people with guns to march across Memorial Bridge from Virginia into Washington attracted the attention of law enforcement officials, who worried about a confrontation on an already busy holiday.
D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier went on television to say that she would enforce the District’s strict gun laws, which forbid the carrying of loaded weapons. “There’s a pretty good chance we’ll meet them on the D.C. side of the bridge,” the chief promised.
Kokesh, who has been repeatedly arrested at protests, did not return phone calls or text messages seeking comment. The media hotline number posted on his Internet site has been disconnected.
Sgt. Paul Brooks, a spokesman for the U.S. Park Police, said his agency had heard through the media that the D.C. event was being canceled but had not confirmed it. District police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump also said her department had heard that the event was off.
Kokesh had said he would not get a permit for the D.C. march, and police officials said he did not reach out to them to discuss logistics. D.C. police as well as the Park Police had drawn up contingency plans to put more officers on duty.