Thousands protest government at Tea Party in Carson City

An estimated 1,500 protesters showed up Wednesday, April 15, 2009, at the Legislature in Carson City, Nev. "Tax day tea party" events were held around the country as part of a national protest on tax day. (AP Photo/Nevada Appeal, Cathleen Allison)

An estimated 1,500 protesters showed up Wednesday, April 15, 2009, at the Legislature in Carson City, Nev. "Tax day tea party" events were held around the country as part of a national protest on tax day. (AP Photo/Nevada Appeal, Cathleen Allison)

More than 1,500 people waved signs, tea bags and American flags in front of the Legislature on Wednesday as part of the national Tax Day Tea Party to protest what they said was reckless federal government spending.

Conservative bloggers who organized the national event said protests were planned in more than 120 cities, including Carson City, Las Vegas, Fallon and Fernley.

The protests were modeled after the Tea Party of the American Revolution and came on the day income tax returns were due.

Lorraine Dougherty, who organized the Carson City protest at the Legislature, said people are tired of the government spending billions of dollars to keep banks and auto companies alive.

Politicians create a "downward spiral" when they get involved with what should be a free market, she said.

"The federal government has no business doing that," she said.

Dirk Van Cott of Mound House held a sign outside the Legislature that said "Save Taxpayers, Not Government Manipulators."

He said federal government spending on unnecessary programs will raise interest rates, cause inflation and grow the national debt.

Politicians are "spending us into an oblivion," he said.

"Our representatives are taxing us and spending our money on things the majority of us don't believe in," he said.

Other signs at the protest read "Capitalism Creates Jobs, Not Government," "Taxed to Death, We've Hit Barack Bottom" and "Balance the Budget, Stop Socialism."

The Tax Day Tea Party's Web site said the protests were led by bloggers Smart Girl Politics, Top Conservatives on Twitter, the DontGo Movement and other online grassroots groups.

The tea parties were promoted by FreedomWorks, a conservative nonprofit advocacy group based in Washington and led by former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey of Texas.

Organizers said the movement developed organically through online social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and through exposure on Fox News.

Popular themes on the signs of Carson City protesters included anger over high taxes, warnings of socialism in American and criticisms of President Obama and Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada.

Cathie Collier of Carson City and her mother, Diana Barclay of Truckee, waved signs saying "Taxpayer Money is Not Petty Cash" and "Taxed Enough Already" to a constant stream of honks and waves from traffic.

Barclay said she's getting tired of unbalanced federal budgets that will be passed on to the next generation.

"I'm worried about my children and grandchildren and I don't want them to be in debt the rest of their lives," she said.

Collier said politicians don't seem to care who is hurt by what they do.

"There's a lot of people who don't want all this spending," she said. "There's a lot of people who don't think they're listening."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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