There will be no tea-dumping in the Potomac River -- that's illegal -- but organizers of today's national tea party tax protest found out this morning that so is their plan to dump a million tea bags in Lafayette Square to demonstrate displeasure at government spending and tax policies.
Protesters, using a rented truck to haul the million tea bags, began unloading their cargo at the park this morning but were told by officials that they didn't have proper permits and must move the tea. They complied with the order but are still considering what to do with the load.
The tea had been purchased online by people upset over recent government policy, said John Gauger, a spokesman for the grass-roots conservative group Reagan.org.
The protesters got more bad news this morning when security officials also told them that they did not have proper permits for a rally in front of the Treasury building. That noon-time protest had been expected to provide a national stage for speeches by such figures as Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform; former presidential candidate Alan Keyes; and Thomas A. Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste. But after the discussion with security officials, the protesters sent away the advance crew that was to set up risers and equipment for news crews. Now the speeches will be concentrated in Lafayette Square -- just without the tea dumping.