At least 200 people gathered at Center City's Love Park for a midday "tea party" to protest excessive government spending.

The rain-soaked rally was one of dozens being held throughout the country. Protesters held "Don't Tread on Me" flags, banners and signs - and lots of umbrellas - as the Pledge of Allegiance annd the "Star Spangled Banner" boomed over loudspeakers.

Then a parade of loud human speakers lit into Washington's lack of fiscal restraint.

"Our revolution is not an armed conflict," declared passionate, bow-tied Jesse Civello, 16, a Cheltenham High School student who addressed the crowd.

"Quite the contrary, our revolution is a peaceful, yet powerful symbol to our neighbors, to our leaders and to the world that the American people will no longer sit back and watch the debt of our country soar well over $11 trillion."

He was followed by financial author Paul Karcher, who got cheers from the soggy crowd by saying, "I guess I'm someone who could be called a clinger. I cling to my guns and my religion!"

The protestors have a simple hope - "repeal the pork, cut taxes," said organizer Diana Reimer, head of the Philadelphia Tax Day Tea Party. "The American people want to see where their money is going, and they don't like where it is going."

Nearly all of the two dozen or more hand-lettered signs had a different message. Among them:

-- "Even God Only Requires 10 Percent."

-- "It's the Tenth Amendment, Stupid."

-- "You Most Likely Don't Know What Socialism Is."

-- "Three Months to Destroy What We've Had for 233 Years."

"I got some strong feelings in the way that government has gone too far," said Dennis Stanton, a maker of "truck wash systems" from Huntington Valley.

He stood listening, holding up a sign that read, "Innovation, Not Taxation."

The country is on the wrong track with stimulus packages and bailouts, he said.

If businesses can't cut it, "let 'em fail!" he said.

"It's not only about President Obama, it's about everyone in Washington," said fitness instructor Marcia Robbins, 47, attending with her husband, Drew.

"It's about government being limited, not being all-powerful," he said.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.