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Thousands protest in call for US President Trump to release tax returns

US President Donald Trump has failed to follow the practice of his predecessors and release his tax returns for public scrutiny. The absence of accounts has sparked further protests across the country.

New York Anti Trump Protest (Getty Images/S. Keith)

Anti-Trump protesters walk through the streets of New York during the "Tax March"

Protests took place across the US on Saturday to demand US President Donald Trump release his tax returns.

Thousands turned up to protests in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, DC. 

In Washington, protesters chanted "shame" while passing the Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. Oregon senator Ron Wyden addressed the crowd, saying Trump was unethical in not releasing his tax returns.

"Disclosing tax returns is the very lowest ethical bar for a president, and we are going to insist that he clear it," said Wyden, a Democrat.

The White House did not offer an immediate comment to the marches. Trump was not in Washington during the marches. He was at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida.

Breaking a 40-year tradition

Trump has yet to publicly release any part of his recent tax returns, the first US President to do so since Lyndon Johnson in the 1960s. US Presidential candidates, including 2016 Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, released their recent tax returns. 

Trump has repeatedly stated he will not release his tax returns as he is being audited by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The IRS has stated that being audited does not prevent him from releasing his tax returns. The most recent Trump tax return that is publicly available is the 2005 edition, which was leaked.

April 15 is usually the deadline for US residents to file their taxes although it has been pushed back to April 18 this year, the next business day.

Scuffles in Berkeley

 USA Berkeley Trump Anhänger vs Gegner Gewalt (Reuters/S. Lam)

Demonstrators for and against the Trump administration came to blows in Berkeley

At least 21 people were arrested at a march in Berkeley, California where hundreds had gathered in separate rallies. Trump supporters held a free speech rally while opponents of the president's policies shouted and chanted. Scuffles broke out.

Berkeley has a long history of liberal activism and the University of California, Berkeley, was a center of protests in the 1960s.

kbd/jm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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