UPDATE 2:15 P.M. The tea party protest in Washington, D.C., outside the White House was just shut down by police. A Secret Service agent told Huffington Post's Arthur Delaney that a demonstrator had thrown a package over the fence onto the White House lawn. Below is video of an organizer explaining the protest cancellation.
From AP: Tax protesters threw what appeared to be a box of tea bags toward the White House on Wednesday, prompting officials to lockdown the compound. The Secret Service also used a robot to inspect the package thrown in an apparent act of defiance meant to echo the rebellion of the Boston Tea Party.
UPDATE 2:40: The conservative protesters were allowed to return to an area around the White House after a robot was used to open the package that had been thrown onto the lawn.
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The Tea Parties here in Washington DC are off to a roaring start, right? Not really. Right now, the Tea Parties are contending with a number of terrible struggles, which this report from Fox News documents.
In the first place, the big event of the day was to be the dumping of one million teabags. The Washington Post notes that this was originally supposed to happen at the Potomac River but was shifted to Lafayette Park because of issues of legality. And seriously, why anyone thought it would be legal to further pollute the Potomac is beyond me.
But! As it turns out, the alternate plan -- 1. Take a million teabags to Lafayette Park, 2. Dump them on a tarp, 3. Yell at them, 4. Clean up the teabags -- also isn't happening, because of permit issues.
According to reports, the truck filled with teabags pulled up to Lafayette Park, but didn't have a permit, and so they were loaded back on to the truck and driven off to an undisclosed location.
Also, the plan to have a second rally in front of the Treasury Department was scotched after the Secret Service objected.
So, this epochal day is off to an amazing start. And somewhere out there, a truck full of teabags rolls on, destination unknown, into an uncertain future.
UPDATE: HuffPost's Arthur Delaney was in attendance at the DC tea bag protest and has many more details:
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Tea party protesters braved some very uncooperative weather Wednesday to join a tax day tea party in a park next to the White House in Washington, D.C. Several hundred protesters (an event organizer tallied no fewer than 1,500 attendees) withstanding driving rain to chant slogans and wave signs decrying government spending and taxes.
"Hell no, we won't pay!" they chanted.
"I'm here to protest the spending and the taxes and the government running the private affairs of private industries," said Steve, 51, a computer programmer who took the day off to drive from Northern Virginia and pay "a big chunk of money" to park in a downtown garage. "I'm here to protest the bailing out of companies when they should be going bankrupt."
Steve came prepared. He'd waterproofed his sign, which depicted 1990s sitcom icon Steve Urkel saying "Did I do that?" next to a downward-sloping stock market graph. The other side of his placard showed Obama with a long Pinocchio nose.
Rain aside, the event hit a few snags. The original plan had been to dump a million teabags onto the ground, but authorities shot that down. There was also supposed to be a second event outside the Treasury department, but authorities said no to that as well. Chalk it up to the fickle D.C. police department.
"We thought we had a permit but then they were like, 'No, you don't,'" says organizer J. Peter Freire.
Many tea partiers stressed that they were not attacking the administration from the Right.
"My sign is non-partisan," said Jill, who took a day off from her job in the insurance industry to commute from Woodbridge, Virginia. Her sign said she was registered to vote and that Congress was in trouble. "I'm hoping this is a non-partisan event."
Another non-partisan attendee, 29-year-old Abraham Mudrick, says he flew in from Oregon just for the tea party. "There were plenty of tea parties in Oregon, but I wanted to be in the belly of the beast," he told the Huffington Post.
Freire told the Huffington Post that while famous types like Alan Keyes were scheduled to speak at the event, they were given not given better billing than regular folks who wanted to talk. At one point, a speaker yelled out, "To hell with the Left!"
The crowd responded with a chant: "USA! USA! USA!"
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