2009-11-19 / Local & State

Harrisburg Protest Draws Hundreds

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Leaders of a protest that brought hundreds of people to Harrisburg over the weekend say they hope to send a message to state lawmakers about fiscal responsibility and taxes.

Participants in the event hosted by the Pennsylvania Tea Party Patriots marched through the city to the state Capitol steps Saturday chanting “Can you hear us now?’’ They carried signs protesting everything from abortion to gun control and waved U.S. flags as Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It’’ blared from a loudspeaker.

The crowd, made up of members of several dozen regional groups from as far away as the Ohio and New Jersey borders, was estimated by Capitol police at 1,500 to 2,000 people.

“Although you hear hooting and hollering, these are not radicals,’’ said Richard Schin, a Lower Allen Township commissioner and member of the Mechanicsburg Area chapter of conservative commentator Glenn Beck’s 9/12 Project. “The silent majority is waking up.’’

A “petition of grievances’’ being circulated for submission to Gov. Ed Rendell this week condemns, among other things, tax increase proposals and the use of slots money for special development projects rather than property tax reductions. Organizer Diana Reimer said sessions will be held this week to instruct members on how to lobby elected officials.

Former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey was to be the keynote speaker but was unable to attend due to weather-related travel delays.

Marlene Carrier, 74, of Millerstown, who wore a flag-decorated hat and coat, said she was surprised to feel choked-up after watching the march. She said she worries about government spending and the future of her five grandchildren.

“They might be getting something free today, but future generations will pay,’’ she said.

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