Hundreds of protesters marched on Capitol Hill in Washington on Saturday (October 26) to protest against the U.S. government's online surveillance programs, whose vast scope was revealed this year by former spy agency contractor Edward Snowden.

The march attracted protesters from both ends of the political spectrum as liberal privacy advocates walked alongside members of the conservative Tea Party movement in opposition to what they say is unlawful government spying on Americans.

Jennifer Wynne of Rhode Island said that people needed to demand action from Congress.

"Over the past several months, we the people have learned so much about the abuses going on and the complete lack of oversight and the mass surveillance into every detail of our lives. And we need to tell Congress that they have to act," Wynne told Reuters.

The event was organised by a coalition known as "Stop Watching Us" that consists of some 100 public advocacy groups and companies, including the American Civil Liberties Union, privacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation, Occupy Wall Street NYC and the Libertarian Party.

The groups have been urging Congress to reform the legal framework supporting the NSA's secretive online data gathering since Snowden's disclosure of classified information about the programs that are designed to gather intelligence about potential foreign threats.

The Obama administration and many lawmakers have defended the NSA programs as crucial in protecting U.S. national security and helping thwart past militant plots. They have also said the programs are carefully overseen by Congress and the courts.

Presented by Adam Justice

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