Conservative protesters from around the country flooded Pennsylvania Avenue Saturday, railing against what they called President Obama’s plan for government-run health care and Congress’s tax-and-spend policies. Police officials declined to release a crowd estimate, but the number of protesters along the route appeared to number well into the tens of thousands. The overwhelmingly white crowd ranged widely in age, and has been orderly, with no arrests reported. By mid morning crowds had poured into Freedom Plaza, just blocks from the White House, for a pre-march rally to the steps of Congress. Demonstrators held up signs reading, “Public option is the death of freedom,” “No nanny state,” and “Where’s the birth certificate?” One person held up a placard picturing a gun next to the head of an elderly woman. “No triggers for me,” read the sign. “I see our nation changing into something the roots of us don’t want,” said Jim Bryant, an aviation consultant from Trenton, Georgia. “Why turn the greatest nation in the entire history of mankind into something else?” People traveled to the protest from around the country, with some spending as much as half a day in commute by bus or train. Adam Brandon, a FreedomWorks spokesman, said the organization had begun planning for today’s event in March. Glenn Beck, the conservative talk show host, also rallied his listeners in recent weeks, urging them to make the trek to Washington in a show of force against Obama. Judy Spann, who came to Washington from Fort Myers, Florida, said she had not been politically active before but had decided to make the trip to Washington because she was furious over what she characterized as Obama’s plan to stage a takeover of the nation’s health care system. “I have never been involved in political issues, but I’ve been really fired up seeing America going off course,” she said. “I really think [Obama] thought the American people were sleeping, but he’s awakened a sleeping giant.” Jack Boyle, who traveled here from Allentown, Pennsylvania, said he had to come to Washington because he was infuriated by what he saw as Congress’s lack of spending discipline. “We can’t sleep at night.” It was spending that also motivated Steve and Synthia Cobb to come here from Cordele, Georgia. “We have to take a stand to save our country,” he said. “The silent majority is being ignored.” “Ladies and Gentlemen: Welcome to Waterloo!” Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said to the cheering crowd, referencing his July remark that health care reform could be Obama's Waterloo. "Friends, this is a critical battle for the heart and soul of America, and for freedom itself," said DeMint. "Freedom fighters are outnumbered in congress, but not in America. If you continue to stand up and speak out, we will save freedom in America,” Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), who chairs the conservative Republican Study Committee, explained that most of the people at the protest were upset about fiscal issues. Price is one of a handful of fiscally conservative Republican officials scheduled to address the crowd, along with Sen. DeMint (whose political action committee is listed as a march co-sponsor) and Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee and Mike Pence of of Indiana. Beck is scheduled to speak via video, though there have been logistical issues, and it's not yet clear if Freedomworks will play the video. “Americans are smart people. They understand that you can’t mortgage your future on the backs of their children and grandchildren,” he said. As they walked down the street, people chanted “You Lie!”, echoing a phrase South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson directed against Obama during a joint session of Congress last week. “No more czars!” yelled others. The rally was organized by FreedomWorks, a small-government organization run by former House Republican Leader Dick Armey that took a large role in putting together the conservative backlash at town hall-style events over the August recess and the spring tea parties.