Protestors take part in the "Tax March" to call on U.S. President Donald Trump to release his tax returns on Capitol in Washington D.C., the United States, on April 15, 2017. Thousands of protesters took to the streets across the United States Saturday to demand that President Donald Trump release his tax returns. (Xinhua/Yin Bogu)
WASHINGTON, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Demonstrators in major cities across the United States marched on Saturday to demand that U.S. President Donald Trump release his tax returns.
Hundreds of demonstrators gathered in Washington D.C. around noon on the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol and marched toward the Lincoln Memorial.
In other major U.S. cities and towns, including New York, Chicago and Palm Beach, where Trump was spending Easter Weekend at his resort Mar-a-Lago, demonstrations also took place and some were joined by thousands of people.
The crowd in New York City stretched for blocks as speakers stood next to a giant inflatable rooster, bearing Trump's golden hairdo, on a stage in Bryant Park Saturday afternoon.
The demonstrators left Bryant Park at about 2:30 p.m. (1830 GMT) marching to Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue and chanting "No more secrets, no more lies. Show your taxes, show your ties."
In Chicago, the protest started at Daley Square in downtown. It is more like an outdoor gathering: an orchestra band playing at intervals, many protestors dancing to the tune of the music, toddlers sitting in strollers, and infants carried in parents' arms.
Protesters held placards and banners that read "I demand transparency," "Donald, release your taxes," and "What are you hiding?"
"We are not reporters, but we care," said a protester, referring to Trump's remarks that only reporters care about his tax returns.
After the organizers took turns to give speeches, the protestors marched northward and stopped on the bank of the Chicago River across from the Trump Tower.
The tax marches, also seen in Philadelphia and dozens of other U.S. cities, coincided with the April 18 deadline for tax returns in 2017.
During his campaign and after the election victory, the Trump camp repeatedly refused to release Trump's tax returns, saying Trump's tax returns were under audit. However, many tax experts say Trump is not barred from releasing the information during the audit.
While U.S. presidents are not required to release their tax returns, nearly all U.S. presidents had voluntarily released them since 1970s.
Shortly after Trump's inauguration in January, Kellyanne Conway, senior counselor to Trump, told U.S. media that Trump would not release his tax returns, citing voters' indifference to the issue as one of the reasons.
However, multiple polls have found that the majority of Americans want Trump to release his tax returns.
Comedy writer Frank Lesser, whose tweet in January sparked the idea for the Tax March, said the participation in the nationwide marches proves that people want to see Trump's returns.
"We march to demand that the president release his returns, as he has repeatedly promised, but failed, to do," the Tax March website reads. "We march because it is in the best interest of the American people to know what financial entanglements and conflicts of interest our leaders have."
A petition demanding Trump release his tax returns garnered more than 1 million signatures. Many lawmakers, including some Republicans, have also called on Trump to make them public.
In another development on the same day, a fighting broke out between the pro- and anti-Trump demonstrators in Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park in Berkeley, Northern California.
At least 13 people were arrested as police struggled to keep the two groups of people separate. Authorities in the city north of San Francisco did not give an estimate for the size of the crowd but cited a "large number of fights" to advise people to stay away from the area.
Fireworks were thrown into the crowds; and sticks, flagpoles and other objects banned for the park were collected by police, who erected a plastic barricade between the two camps.
A new Gallup poll conducted earlier in April found 21 percent of Americans see their dissatisfaction with the government and political leadership as the top problem in the United States.
The current level of dissatisfaction is the highest since October 2013 to January 2014, after the partial government shutdown that October.