Tea Party Rally At Daley Plaza: Chicago Tea Partiers Protesting Tax Day (PHOTOS)
share this story
It's Tax Day again, and for the second year in a row, the Tea Party protesters gathered in Daley Plaza.
Starting at noon, downtown's Daley Plaza filled with protesters unhappy with the current state of government, and particularly with the newly-passed health care reform law. Counter-protesters also gathered in the plaza, waving rainbow flags and signs blasting former President George W. Bush.
"I think a lot of folks in Illinois and across the country are very frustrated with the passage of 'Obama-care', and that it was passed despite broad opposition to it," John O'Hara of the Illinois Policy Institute told CBS 2 Chicago.
The rallying cry will be "Repeal and Replace," which refers to the health care legislation and Congress, respectively.
Speakers at the rally include Kathy Bakulis, who gained national renown for heckling a CNN reporter at last year's Chicago rally, and Adam Andrzejewski, a failed candidate for the Republican nomination for governor.
The Tea Party movement was launched to national prominence in part through its nationwide protests on Tax Day 2009; nearly 5,000 people showed up to Daley Plaza last year, mostly discontent with the federal stimulus package. The movement gained more attention through its loud and often vitriolic protest of President Obama's signature health care legislation this summer and since.
But an AP/NBC Chicago report explains that Tea Party organizers have taken steps to tone down its more radical anti-government wing to put a good face forward:
Sensitive that poor public perception could sink their movement, some rally planners have uninvited controversial speakers, beefed up security and urged participants to pack cameras to capture evidence of any disrupters.
Organizers want to project a peaceful image of people upset by what they consider to be a growing and burdensome federal government.
"We don't want to be misrepresented, whether it's by someone who is not part of the group and has their own agenda, or whether it's by some fringe extremist who may actually be a racist," said Jim Hoft, a political blogger and tea party activist who is one of the speakers for a rally in suburban St. Louis.
Meanwhile, opposition groups have planned infiltrations and counter-protests to respond to the Tea Party's message, according to a separate CBS 2 report.
One notice about the counter-protests read: "This is OUR City -- not Glenn Beck's or Sarah Palin's."
Check out some signs from today's protest here: