‘Don’t Tread On Me’

Nearly 30 members of the Southern Tier TEA Party Patriots turned out Wednesday afternoon in front of the IRS office on East Second Street.

The group marched in front of the office building with signs that displayed messages such as “Abolish the IRS” and “Stop the targeting,” as well as American flags and flags featuring the historic “Don’t Tread On Me” drawing.

“I’m out here as an ordinary citizen who is fed up with the overreaching and abuse of so many of the government agencies that we have these days, namely the IRS,” said Shirley Leyman. “They’re targeting conservative organizations, and it’s blatantly unconstitutional, which is why we’re protesting. The abuse of power is just incredible, and it has to be stopped. We also want recognition that the conservative organizations are being targeted, and so far no one has been held accountable.”

There was a large Tea Party rally in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday as well, dubbed the “Audit the IRS” rally, which served as the impetus for the protest in Jamestown. Organizers of the rally in Washington said that it would be the largest protest by the organization in the past three years.

“Since we couldn’t get to Washington today we decided that we’d just hold our own protest locally,” said Leyman. “We did this a few weeks ago, as well, and we had a good turnout here. I’m willing to bet that this is happening in other towns across the country today, too. We’ve been down to the rallies before, and there are always a lot of people. We feel like middle America is really with us for this.”