Anti-NSA spying rally in Washington attracts unlikely political coalition (PHOTOS)


Participants demonstrate in support of former NSA employee Edward Snowden at a protest march against the electronic surveillance tactics of the NSA on July 27, 2013 in Berlin.


Sean Gallup

Thousands of people rallied against the US National Security Agency's surveillance programs in the nation's capital Saturday in a march called "Stop Watching Us."

Signs reading "Stop mass surveillance," "Thank you, Edward Snowden," and "No NSA mass spying," were spotted at the rally in Washington, DC.

The marchers represented a diverse range of interests and ideologies, including right-leaning, libertarian, left-leaning groups.

The more than 100 public advocacy groups organizing the event, including the the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Koch brothers' FreedomWorks, were to deliver a petition to Congress on Saturday.

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The Washington Post reported that the tech community was out in full force during the rally.

“This is probably the defining issue of a young generation of technologists,” said software developer Matt Simons of ThoughtWorks, which helped sponsor the event.

“If you’re not coming out on the right side of history, you’re in the wrong industry.”

The march, which lauded former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, journalist Glenn Greenwald, and libertarian politician Rand Paul, was timed to happen on the 12th anniversary of the signing of the Patriot Act, the law used to justify the NSA's mass surveillance programs.

The rally happened as the United States took a beating on the diplomatic front, with Germany and France demanding answers over reports earlier this week that the NSA monitored calls of the German leader and French citizens.

This is the first major demonstration by the American public against the spying programs, while a similar rally was held in Berlin in July.

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