Tea Party activists protest health bill on Capitol Hill

Thousands of "Tea Party" protesters took to Capitol Hill on Saturday to urge lawmakers to vote down a healthcare bill tomorrow.

A day before lawmakers are set to cast a highly anticipated vote on health reform legislation on Sunday, lawmakers and other conservative figures whipped up protesters into a frenzy against that legislation.

House Republican Conference Chairman Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) were among a group of lawmakers who spoke to the crowd, which chanted "kill the bill" and other slogans in opposition to health reform.

"We've been losing freedoms week by week over this past year," said actor Jon Voight. "If there's one thing that's clear about this past year of this administration it's that they don't want to listen to the people."

The activists spread out across the Capitol on Saturday afternoon, reportedly flooding the offices of wavering and undecided Democrats, along with "kill the bill" chants.

The crowd also seemed to make an appearance during a Saturday afternoon stakeout by House Republican leaders at the Capitol. Remarks by House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and other top Republicans were met with cheers and chants, a change in the atmosphere for such events, which are usually attended only by reporters.

Early in the evening, protesters had surrounded the Capitol. Boehner's office puts signs in window reading "VOTE NO!" and "SCRAP THE BILL" - evoking chants of "kill the bill" from protesters gathered on East Front plaza.

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) rallied a crowd of protesters on the east steps of the House.

Photo by Greg Nash

Molly K. Hooper contributed to this report