Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Downtown Tax Day Tea Party Draws Hundreds


Published: April 15th, 2009 11:29 AM
Last Modified: April 15th, 2009 03:43 PM

More than 1,200 protesters crammed the corners of Seventh Avenue and C Street in Anchorage today as part of a national Tax Day Tea Party organized by a coalition of conservative groups.

"(This is) the first time I've ever been to a protest in my entire life," said 45-year-old fitness instructor Amy Brun, who says the federal government should let the free market save the economy rather than going deeper in debt to spur recovery.

"I don't want anymore bailouts," she said. "I didn't want the one Bush imposed, I didn't want the one Obama imposed. ... I really think something like that should have been brought to the people."

The protest is meant to invoke the Boston Tea Party against taxation in 1773, and was one of hundreds held around the country today.

Anchorage sign wavers stood at the foot of the federal building, sometimes chanting or singing "The Star-Spangled Banner." Drivers leaned on their horns as they rolled past signs that said things like:

• "We are not your ATM"

• "Even God only asks 10 percent"

• "What's in your wallet? My money"

A man carrying a "Home for sale" sign -- the kind you stick in your lawn -- strode across the street, yelling, "Bail out my home mortgage!"

Many in the crowd said they'd heard about the protests through Fox News or radio talk shows and found the location on the Internet.

State Republican Party Chairman Randy Ruedrich roamed the crowd, handing out "Dan Sullivan for mayor" signs, while a pair of Eagle River high school students asked Sullivan to sign a form showing they'd attended the protest for their U.S. government class.

While some protesters said they were unhappy with former President George Bush's economic policies too, President Barack Obama bore the brunt of the anger from people who largely identified themselves as Republicans or Libertarians.

In an e-mail, Democratic National Committee spokesman Hari Sevugan wrote: "While we support the right of Americans to petition their government, what's clear is that the overwhelming majority of folks support President Obama's plan to get the economy back on track ... "

Mary Ann Krasselt, 66, pointed a sign reading "No! to radical Obama and his socialist taxes" toward the intersection. She wore her husband's Revolutionary War custom -- tricorn hat and all -- and she said she can't afford to retire from her sales job.

"We're really heading on a road to socialism," the woman standing next to her said.

"We really are," Krasselt replied. "And I'm worried about a civil war."

Besides Anchorage, Alaska tax day protests were scheduled for Wasilla, Soldotna, Homer, Kodiak, Fairbanks, Haines and Ketchikan.

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