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Austin Tea Party protest takes to the streets

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Published on Apr 16, 2009

AUSTIN (KXAN) - Taking a page from the playbook of the country's founding fathers, thousands of Austinites marched from the State Capitol, across the First Street Bridge and gathered at the shores of Lady Bird lake to protest tax day.

Organizers of the event then threw symbolic "tea boxes" into the lake in order to recreate the Boston Tea Party of 1773. However, unlike their predecessors, the eco-minded protestors of 2009 immediately fished the boxes out of the water to prevent pollution.

This rally came after a noon gathering on the steps of Austin City Hall, where hundreds packed the area with signs and flags, spelling out opposition to lawmakers in Washington D.C.

"This is what America is about," said Lawrence Cranberg, a 92-year-old voter who said he is protesting on behalf of his family. "We don't normally do something like this, but we've had enough." Cranberg's 79-year-old wife, Charlotte, agreed. "This is the beginning of a major movement."

Though the crowd varied in beliefs on the political spectrum, their message was the same. "We voted for change and we got it," said Bryce Chiesa, who loses money every month on properties he rents out. "But, it was change for the worse not the better."

Governor Rick Perry, who recently made headlines for his fight for the 10th Amendment, spoke at the rally along with other conservative politicians. "We won't stand for oppression," he shouted to the enthusiastic crowd.

Despite the conservative slant of the event, not everyone rejoiced when the Governor took the stage.

"Rick Perry is a hypocrite," said Judy Morris, a tax protestor from Round Rock. "He is not at all about small government and has only worked against Texas sovereignty."

The Democratic party also spoke out against Perry's attendance to the Austin Tea Party, citing legislation he has signed that has raised taxes on small businesses.

"Gov. Perry's appearance today comes just weeks after his admission that his rejection of unemployment insurance funds would force a tax increase on small businesses to make up for the projected unemployment insurance fund deficit," read the TDP press release. "And that tax increase would come just three years after Perry signed a 2006 tax plan that raised taxes on small businesses."

Perry was not the only politician to take a jab at the Obama administration on this tax day. Texas Congressman Lamar Smith, a Republican, weighed in on the issue as well.

"Let's remind the Obama Administration and Congressional leaders that their tax and spend scheme threatens our nations prosperity and our own individual freedoms," he said in a statement sent to several tea parties across the state. "Taxation without justification is an obamanation!"

"On Tax Day, some in Congress may need a reminder of just who is underwriting this spending: The American taxpayer," said Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison . "I am deeply concerned over the swelling tax burden that will be imposed on all Texas families."

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