WASHINGTON (CN) – Conservative and liberal protesters descended on Washington on Tuesday to hold opposing rallies on health care. Conservatives dressed in red, apparently in reference to a red alarm, chanted “Kill the bill,” while liberal demonstrators rallied in a different location to support a public option.
Signs dotted the crowd of roughly 500 conservatives who met outside the Capitol building in the early afternoon, with messages reading “Hands Off My Health Care,” and “Obama = Tyranny.” One of the signs portrayed the communist hammer and sickle, with “Obama” written under it.
In a carnival atmosphere, vendors also sold flags with the image of a rattlesnake and the words, “Don’t Tread On Me.”
Republican senators Tom Coburn from Oklahoma, Jim DeMint from South Carolina, and Richard Burr from North Carolina spoke at the event, as did radio talk show host Laura Ingraham.
DeMint had said he was putting Capitol Hill on a “code red” alert — a turn of phrase picked up by the red-dressed protestors — to stop the bill from progressing in the Senate.
One set of right-wing protesters opted instead for colonial era costumes, reflecting the “tea party” coalition of anti-tax conservatives.
Liberals had also planned an afternoon rally outside the White House, which has been less publicized. They organized to protest recent compromises made to the bill, namely the recently reported removal of a government-run public-option from the bill. Their clothes were less festive.