Tea Party crowd swarms on state capital

April 15, 2010 8:18:20 PM PDT
On tax day, thousands converged on the state capitol in downtown Raleigh for a Tea Party rally, protesting big government and high taxes.

The rally kicked off at 5 p.m. Thursday.

"This is an event for anybody who's fed up with the government and the way that they treat their citizens as far as how they listen to them, how they tax them, how they're spending the money," Tea Party organizer Laura Long said.

"It is American patriots coming together with a common goal to stand up against the government corruption," Tea Party Organizer Julie Griffin added. "We're tired of it and we're standing together in a peaceful manner."

Speeches came from Americans for Prosperity, The John Locke Foundation, Wake County Republicans leaders and Congressional candidates and even featured new Wake County School Board Member John Tedesco.

There were also a lot of American flags, even though this year a new rule at the capitol would have prevented people from carrying flags on poles, because the poles were considered dangerous by police.

Randy Dye of NC Freedom says he doesn't recall any Tea Party rallies turning violent.

"If there was a history of violence, I understand that," he explained. "But every Tea Party [rally] I have been to in this nation has never had any kind of violence, in fact, they've been respectable."

However Thursday morning, at the governor's urging, the new rule was suspended.

Click here for more information about the new rules

"I think they made the right decision and North Carolina citizens are going to be very glad to carry their flags in the proper way," Long said.

"If somebody wants to carry a flag, that's completely understandable," said Ernie Seneca with the Department of Crime Control.

Seneca says the decision to allow flags, banners and signs to be carried traditionally, reversed a rule established last fall that would have prevented it. He says they'll likely bring the rule back after making some changes.

"What kind of modifications we might need, I don't know right now, but there's got to be a good balance, something reasonable we can work out," Seneca said.

Organizers of Thursday's rally say they are glad to have the flag-flap behind them so they can focus on the Tea Party message.

"Smaller government, less taxes, that's the whole focus of today's issues," Dye said.

Thursday's rally ended peacefully around 8 p.m.

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