When hundreds of tea-party protesters – including many elderly women – gathered outside a civic center 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 Lindsay Civic 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 the civic 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.
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."