About 2,000 people crowded the lawn near Ross's Landing late this evening for the Chattanooga Tax Day Tea Party. The event was meant to protest increasing spending and high taxes, organizers said. They hoped their message, combined with the uproar coming from hundreds of other tea parties across the country, would come through.
"You just heard the collective feet of the people coming down all at once," said Martin Johnson, a Hixson resident who attended the protest. "We aren't going to take it anymore, and we want our leaders to listen to us for a change."
The tea parties were promoted by FreedomWorks, a conservative nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington and led by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas, who is now a lobbyist. The protests were not meant to be partisan in nature, organizers said.
"Our government has been out of control for a long time, way before now, during Republican and Democratic administrations," said Jeremy Wilkie, of Soddy-Daisy, who waved a "Don't tread on me" flag during the protest.
"We have changed parties on both the Congress and the presidency, and we haven't gotten good results out of either ... We're looking for change, and the change is smaller government," he said.
For complete details, see tomorrow's Chattanooga Times Free Press.