When hundreds of tea-party protesters – including many elderly women – gathered outside a civiccenter where President Obama was giving a public speech Wednesday, they were surprised to be greeted by police dispatched in full riot gear.
Obama spoke in Quincy, Ill., at the Oakley LindsayCivic Center. The event was open to the public, and about 2,000 tickets were distributed on a first-come, first-serve basis.
About 200 protesters peacefully rallied outside thecivic center, carrying signs that read “Give Us Liberty Not Debt” and yellow “Don’t Tread On Me” flags, the Quincy Herald-Whig reported. Protesters waved U.S. flags and shouted “Remember in November” and “You work for us.”
‘Look at these extremist maniacs!’
After Obama’s motorcade arrived, a Secret Service agent instructed protesters to move across the street. The crowd began singing “God Bless, America” and the National Anthem. Quincy Deputy Police Chief Ron Dreyer ordered police in full riot gear to march up the street and stand between the tea partiers and the civic center.
Snipers were also spotted on the rooftop of the building.
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The tea partiers complied when they were told to move across the street, behind a sidewalk and into a parking lot. The riot police did not come into contact with the crowd, and the tea partiers sang patriotic songs while obeying the orders.
“Thanks for protecting our president,” one tea partier can be heard saying on a video of the event. “He’s the anointed One, the Messiah.”
Another man said, “Illegals are rioting, and we’re as peaceful as you can believe.”
NBC affiliate WGEM described the crowd as “rowdy,” though they could be heard singing “God Bless America” in the background during the report.
Inside, Obama told the crowd, “When I travel now, it kind of causes a ruckus.”
Michelle Malkin’s blog responded to the incident with the headline “Riot police called in to protect Obama from out-of-control tea party.”
“Thank goodness the riot police showed up quickly before something serious happened,” Doug Powers wrote. “Look at these extremist maniacs!”
Powers referenced photos of several elderly women at the protest who smiled and wore U.S. flags.
“No word yet on how many crimes were carried out in town while the police were being ordered to monitor this seething cauldron of tea-party rage,” he wrote, “but it was a small price to pay to keep the area secure.”
Organizer Steve McQueen told the Herald-Whig, “We’ve always been respectful and acted with dignity. We are out to make our case and make it peacefully.”
Tea partiers rally on opposite side of street
Tea-party blog P/Oed Patriot posted the following video of the incident: