Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Protest on Mall Draws Thousands

Conservative protesters returned to D.C. on Saturday to voice their frustration with the Obama administration and their opposition to rising levels of government spending. Numbering in the thousands, [protesters marched down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol](, forcing numerous streets to be closed in the process.

Thousands of protesters, many associated with the conservative “Tea Party” movement, traveled from all corners of the country to attend the event, dwarfing the “Tea Party” protests that took place on April 15 in Lafayette Square. The crowds, stretching from Freedom Plaza to the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, had blocked the entirety of Pennsylvania Avenue by mid-morning.

“The protesters came from all over the country, including as far away as California and Texas. There were literally protesters from every state,” said Mark Meckler, one of four national coordinators and co-founders of [Tea Party Patriots](, a group that organized Saturday’s protests with the [National Taxpayers Union](, [FreedomWorks]( and the [9/12 Project](

While many activists came to the city to express their dissatisfaction with President Obama’s proposed health care reforms, demonstrators vented their anger with regard to an array of issues, including gun control, government bailouts of failing firms on Wall Street and the national debt, which soared past $11 trillion in March.

“We believe that the majority of Americans feel unrepresented in government. Though we vote, the politicians of both parties continue to vote in their own self-interest, with their sole intent being the retention of power,” Meckler said. “We want politicians of all parties to know that we are out here, we are active, organized, and we will vote them out of office if they don’t do the right things,” he said.

According to Meckler, Tea Party Patriots hopes its efforts will move the government to embrace fiscal responsibility, the integrity of the free market and a limited government.

“We came here to express our disappointment with the government and to demand more transparency with our politicians and with our tax dollars. Personally, I think our nation needs to turn back to God and have a relationship with God,” said demonstrator Brandon Harris of Mustard Seed Faith Ministries.

Numerous speakers, including organizers of the protests and current and former members of Congress, addressed the assembled masses on the West Front of the Capitol.

“After nine years of fighting runaway federal spending here on this hill, you people look like the cavalry to me. We stand together at a historic moment; in the life of the conservative movement and the life of this nation. . How we as conservatives respond to these challenges could determine whether America retains her place in the world as a beacon of freedom, or whether we slip into the abyss that has swallowed much of Europe in an avalanche of socialism,” Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.), chair of the House Republican Conference, said to the crowd.

D.C.’s demonstration was just one of nearly 200 Tea Party-associated protests that took place in 45 states on Saturday. Previous Tea Party protests occurred in both February and April of this year. At each of these events, protesters have employed colorful signs and catchy chants, but many politicians are not heeding the message, according to Meckler.

“The majority party hears, but they are not really listening. They respond by verbally abusing . law-abiding citizens who are exercising their constitutionally protected right to free speech,” Meckler said.

“The minority party is listening a bit better, they are not abusing protesters, but they are still out of touch with the electorate, and we will continue to push them as well,” he said.

*- Christopher Reid contributed to this report.*”

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