Anti-Obama protesters march in Washington

Mon, Sep 14, 2009, 01:00

TENS OF THOUSANDS of protesters took to the streets of Washington at the weekend in the largest manifestation yet of the angry anti-Obama sentiment being whipped up among rightwing Republicans.

Bearing flags saying “Don’t tread on me!”, “Enough, enough” and “I’m not your ATM”, they descended on the capital on Saturday from all corners of the country to denounce what they believe is the administration’s march towards socialism.

The protesters vented their spleens over a wide range of targets, from conservative staples such as perceived high taxes and big government, through President Barack Obama’s plans to reform healthcare, to more extreme portrayals of Obama as a terrorist or a Hitler figure.

The depiction of the administration as socialist or communist was a unifying theme.

Marchers took three hours to walk from the White House to Capitol Hill, and the crowd that assembled on the west lawn of the Capitol spilled out on to the National Mall.

Democratic commentators were quick to dismiss the protest as the ranting of an intensely motivated but electorally marginal right-wing alliance.

The Obama administration is intent on pressing ahead with selling health reform to the US public, despite all the right-wing noise.

The president will take his message of the urgent need for change to Pittsburgh tomorrow and Maryland on Thursday. He told a rally in Minneapolis at the weekend: “I will not accept the status quo. Not this time. Not now.”

But the large numbers at Saturday’s march took city authorities by surprise, and came as the culmination of an ad hoc movement that has been building in size and momentum since April’s anti-tax “tea party” demonstrations.

The organisers of the march represent a ragbag coalition of disparate groups, joined at the hip by their hatred of Obama’s perceived radicalism.

They include right-wing think tanks such as the Heartland Institute, small government campaigns such as Americans for Tax Reform and Tea Party Patriots, and internet-based protest networks such as ResistNet.

Richard Armey, the former Republican leader in the House of Representatives, addressed the rally, accusing Obama of betraying the founding fathers.

When Mr Armey spoke, the crowd shouted “Liar! liar!”. This was an allusion to the Republican congressman Joe Wilson who shouted out “Liar!” at Obama during the president’s address to the joint houses of Congress last week.

– ( Guardianservice)