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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Anti-Tax Protest Packs Pioneer Square

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Wed, Apr 15, 2009 at 10:17 PM

Maybe "anti-tax" isn't the best way to sum up the patchwork of passionate protesters at today's Tax Day Teabagging Party in Pioneer Square. The protest issued a come-one-come-all invitation to people upset at the current state of the union, whether they're mad about the bailout, mad that Obama is a raving socialist in cahoots with the Europeans or just mad about gays. Much of the resulting thousand-person crowd seemed to be straddling that fine far-fringe line between libertarians and anarchists. At one point a large group chanted "U!S!A! U!S!A!" while simultaneously waving signs demanding an end to federal government.

The event was quite a human spectacle. One woman waved an American flag quilt with a stitched hammer and sickle for stars. "Don't tax me bro!" read one protest sign. "We must not allow lying communists to take over our country by subterfuge!" read another. I sat next to three mom types from Beaverton (two Republicans, one Democrat) who said this was their very first protest. On my other side was a student, Casey Blackstead, who was there to gather research material for a paper about the Patriot Act and rather reluctantly held a sign bearing a James Madison quote. "This is a little crazy," she said, eyeing the 'No Taxation!' signs of the surrounding crowd, "We can't just completely throw out taxes."

State and local politicians are fighting an uphill battle in East Portland and other anti-tax areas this session, trying to convince constituents that raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy is necessary to save services and schools.

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KPAM radio station provided some of the evening's more prominent speakers, but what they said was mostly unintelligible over the murmuring of the crowd. Luckily, Oregon Tea Party organizers distributed handbills printed with an American flag and the night's "Talking Points":

Renew the Revolution!
Liberty is all the Stimulus we Need!
No Public $ for Private Failure!
Repeal the Spending, Regulation, & Taxation or Retire!

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