Tens of thousands of protesters have taken part in rallies in cities across the US to press President Donald Trump to release his personal tax returns on the day coinciding with the country’s official annual deadline to file income taxes.
More than 150 protest rallies and marches were expected to take place throughout the country on Saturday. Major cities, such as Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles, Denver, and Philadelphia attracted large turnouts.
The main march unfolded in the nation’s capital, where protesters gathered for a rally in front of the legislative Capitol building and then marched to major landmarks such as the Lincoln Memorial,
Participants at the DC march portrayed the US president as a greedy politician who refuses to be open about his financial dealings while hundreds wore shirts with an image of Trump’s face as the Monopoly mascot.
Others carried signs with former Republican president Richard Nixon’s face, saying even Nixon, who was impeached in disgrace, released his taxes. There was also a large inflatable chicken, with hair resembling Trump’s, suggesting that the president is “too chicken” to release his taxes.
Speakers at the massive rally in the US capital included Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, California Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin. During his speech, Waters renewed her call for impeachment of Trump.
"I don't respect this president. I don't trust this president. He's not working in the best interests of the American people," Waters stated as quoted in local press reports.
"I will fight every day until he is impeached," she added, before leading the protesters in chants of "impeach 45."
The congresswoman further blasted the US president for refusing to release his tax returns, calling him a “liar” since he has claimed he can't release his taxes because of an audit, while the country’s taxing authority -- the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) -- insists that nothing prevents individuals from releasing their own tax information despite an audit.
As a candidate and as president, Trump has steadfastly refused to release his tax returns, citing an ongoing audit by the IRS. In September, he told the local ABC News, "I don't think anybody cares, except some members of the press."
US presidents are not required to release their tax returns but have done so voluntarily since the 1970s.
Waters also criticized Trump for his campaign tax-reform plan delivering most of its benefits to wealthy people.
"The one percent will be the only ones who meaningfully benefit on the backs of millions of already struggling Americans," she said.
Meanwhile, in South Florida, activists reportedly marched to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where he is spending his weekend.
Also in New York, thousands of people turned out for a march through midtown Manhattan to demand that Trump release his tax returns and to challenge his claim that the American public does not care about the issue.
Organizers of New York's "Tax March" said they wanted to call attention to Trump's refusal to disclose his tax history, as his White House predecessors have done for more than 40 years.
In the city of Denver, thousands more protesters also descended on Civic Center Park, urging the US president to make his most recent tax returns public. After hearing from a number of speakers that included activists and local lawmakers, they went on a march through downtown Denver.
Critics across the US have raised questions about what Trump's tax returns say about his net worth and various business ties.