3,500 people estimated at Richmond Tea Party rally

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Richmond Tea Party activists hope they made a big impression on lawmakers. Organizers of a tax day rally held at Kanawha Plaza estimate about 3,500 people showed up Thursday night.

Activists say this grassroots movement is gaining momentum and those in Washington should take notice.

Richmond Tea Party activists came out in force, with posters and pitchforks to rally against big government and wasteful spending.

"I think the pitchfork has always symbolized storming the castle and going to discuss or chat with the leaders. A nice tall pitch fork that goes over the crowd is a nice way to show that we're coming," said Richmond resident Charles Jones.

Organizers and special guests called on the crowd to take out their frustrations when they go to the polls.

"I don't think there's any doubt these people are going to show up at the polls. We've already seen some of the results; Virginia's gubernatorial election, New Jersey, Massachusetts with Scott Brown, I believe there's absolutely no doubt," said Fox Business News analyst Charles Payne.

This was the second Richmond Tea Party event at Kanawha Plaza.

The group's president, Jaime Radtke, says they paid for the space and security so taxpayers wouldn't carry the burden. Radtke says the tighter security was for the possibility of party crashers, but there was no sign of counter-protestors.

"What's unique about the tea party is over half of the people have never been involved before and you see new activists coming up," said Radtke.

Les Skelly isn't new to the grassroots movement or what he considers a fight for our nation.

"The government is getting too big. It's thwarting, I think, our rights as individuals. Every time you make a law you take away a right," said Skelly of Williamsburg.

The Richmond event was among some 2,000 tea party tax day rallies held across the country.

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