WASHINGTON, D.C. – Thousands of enthusiastic tea partiers gathered along the lawn surrounding the Washington Monument today to mutually express grievances over what they regard as high taxes, big government and an even bigger national debt.

Two rallies took place in Washington today: one at the Freedom Plaza this morning and another, hosted by FreedomWorks, at the Washington Monument. An estimated 3,000 to 4,000 people descended on the nation’s capital tonight.

Tax Day tea party at the Washington Monument (WND photo, Alyssa Farah)

Rep. Michele Bachmann told the crowd at Freedom Plaza that “gangster government” has instituted a “takeover of one private industry after another.”

“We’re on to this gangster government,” she said. “I say it’s time for these little piggies to go home. We need you to take out some of these bad guys.”

(WND photo, Alyssa Farah)

Speakers at the Washington Monument rally included Dick Armey, the former Texas Republican congressman who now leads FreedomWorks, Lord Monckton, Andrew Breitbart, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, Tucker Carlson, Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., and Rev. C.L. Bryant. They spoke about the major economic issues of the day, including strategies to combat the Democrats’ recently passed health-care legislation, energy taxation and a 50-state strategy to take America back.

They unveiled a new “Contract From America,” a document that emphasizes free-market principles, limited government and individual liberty. More than 440,000 Americans voted for the 10 issues that matter most to them.

The top 10 issues are:

1) Require each bill to identify its constitutional authorization

2) Defund, repeal, and replace government-run health care

3) Demand a balanced budget

4) End runaway government spending by imposing a statutory cap limiting growth in federal spending

5) Enact fundamental reform to simplify and lower taxes

6) Create a blue-ribbon task force that engages in a complete audit of federal agencies and programs

7) Reject cap-and-trade

8) Pass an “all of the above” energy policy

9) Stop the 2011 tax hikes

10) Stop the pork.

“What we have here is a document that truly represents, in a very transparent way, what the grass-roots movement and the majority of the American people want,” Ryan Heckler, spokesman for the Tea Party Patriots, said earlier in the week.

(WND photo, Alyssa Farah)

Participants traveled from across the country to show their solidarity. Tea partiers from as far as California, Kansas, Mississippi, Illinois, Texas and Montana made the trek to the nation’s capital.

Young professionals rolled up their sleeves and joined the masses on the lawn after finishing a full day of work. The evening event drew a diverse crowd of tourists, tea partiers from near and far, left-leaning protesters and D.C. professionals. Many were middle-aged, but a significant number of elderly people and young children made the trek as well.

The Washington protest marked the end of a 23-state Tea Party Express tour that began March 27 and targeted Democratic Sens. Harry Reid of Nevada, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and nine members of the House who voted for the health-care legislation.

Protesters waved U.S. and “Don’t Tread on Me” flags. They carried signs stating, “November cometh, liberals goeth,” “Give me liberty, not debt,” “Vote them out” and “Keep your hands off my health care.”

At one point, Monckton led the crowd in shouting, “Climate change is bullsh-t!”

One tea partier, Bob Boyd, 58, of North Brunswick, N.J., told USA Today the Obama administration has motivated him to spend time and money to defeat his Democratic congressman, Rush Holt.

“I have never been active before in my life, but this president has galvanized me,” Boyd said.

Jerry Johnson, 58, a lawyer from Berryville, Va., carried a homemade sign portraying the nation as the Titanic striking an iceberg, the Washington Post reported.

“I came here because of what I see going on in this country,” he told the newspaper. “We’re bankrupt in America. We can’t run our households like the government’s running the country. That, and the idea of people [sitting] around on their butts. Fifty percent of the people collecting a check are paying no taxes, while the other 50 pull the wagon.”

Johnson continued: “Normally I’m not a protester. I’ve got other things to do in life. I’d rather be doing all kinds of other things. But I just can’t stand by and watch this country go down the tubes.”

(WND photo, Alyssa Farah)

Meanwhile, while Americans rallied at more than 800 Tax Day protests today, Obama visited singer Gloria Estefan’s Miami Beach mansion for a $30,400-a-couple cocktail-reception fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee following a visit to the Kennedy Exploration Center earlier in the day.

He joined yet another DNC fundraiser tonight and credited his economic-recovery package with saving two million American jobs and cutting taxes for families, small businesses and students, Fox News reported.

Then he took a jab at the thousands of Americans who turned out in droves at the Tax Day rallies.

“I’ve been a little amused over the last couple of days where people have been having these rallies about taxes,” he said. “You would think they’d be saying thank you.”

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