Approximately 60 war tax protesters participated Tuesday in a tax-day protest in midtown Manhattan. The purpose of the annual event is to publicize and protest the huge amount of money that the U. S. government spends on war and militarism, and to remind citizens that it is their tax dollars that are paying for it.

The event started at 4:00 PM with a vigil and leafleting at the IRS office at 110 44th Street. Between five and six PM the protesters marched on the sidewalk to the General Post Office at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street, accompanied by music from the Rude Mechanical Orchestra and banners from Bread and Puppet Theater. Some of the marchers chanted enthusiastically, while others handed out flyers, including the War Resisters’ League pie chart, to puzzled and amused passersby. The pie chart shows the percentage of the Federal budget dedicated to war (54%).

At the General Post Office there was more leafleting and anti-war tax songs were performed first by the Rude Mechanical Orchestra and then the Raging Grannies. The march had proceeded pretty much unmolested, however upon arrival at the Post Office approximately 20 police showed up. At one point several police, led by a Sgt. Ward, told several of the demonstrators who were standing on the sidewalk holding signs to move. ‘You got to stand on the sidewalk’ a police officer said to several protesters holding signs on the sidewalk. When this was met with a puzzled look, he added ‘by the curb’. Other demands to move by the police resulted in some slightly testy exchanges. When one demonstrator holding one end of a sign calling for a war tax boycott protested that they should be able to remain where they were, one Officer McNevin took her driver’s license, copied some information, then held her license ‘hostage’ for several long minutes. Apparently the five to six-foot sign was obstructing too much of the almost block long entrance stairs to the Post Office.

Nevertheless, after some discussion, the police relented. War tax resisters Jesse Davis and Lily Dalke read a statement encouraging people to join in war tax resistance. Highlights included a quote from the nonviolent activist A. J. Muste that “There is no way to peace, peace is the way” and a presentation of an oversize “check” representing $29,886 which New York City war tax resisters are refusing to pay to the IRS. Ms. Dalke explained that war tax resisters have no objection to paying for peace, and that the refused tax money will be spent, or ‘re-directed’ to pay for soup kitchens and youth programs, and to help Iraq war refugees and victims of Katrina.

Groups involved in the protest included the War Resisters’ League, the National War Tax Coordinating Committee, the NYC People’s Life Fund, and MDS.