Philippine prisoners repeat performance of Thriller in tribute to Michael Jackson

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Prisoners at Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center prison in the Philippines yesterday repeated their mass dance performance to "Thriller" in tribute to Michael Jackson, who died on Thursday. The YouTube video of one of their previous performances gained popularity and widespread attention for the prison, and its warden Byron F. Garcia, in April 2007.

700 visitors, including local and foreign tourists, watched from above the prison's exercise yard as prisoners performed at 15:00 local time (07:00 UTC). The prisoners had, coincidentally, performed the routine last Thursday, for tourism officials, mere hours before Jackson's death. Over Friday, they practiced for nine hours for today's performance.

The prisoners themselves expressed their feelings over Jackson's death. Wenjiel Resane, who played the role of Jackson's girlfriend in the routine, said "I felt sad because we lost our idol.".

Alfredo Gaballo, another inmate, said that Jackson "inspired us, so we are all sad about his death".

Other Jackson numbers performed by the prisoners included "Ben" "I'll Be There", and "We Are the World". At the end of the performance the prisoners displayed, on a 1.5-by-3 metre tarpaulin, a picture of Jackson holding a sword with his name written below.

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