Thousands of New Yorkers [including members of Make the Road New York] marched in Lower Manhattan Thursday evening to protest the city’s proposed budget cuts, which include layoffs of 4,100 teachers, and to say that Wall Street and corporate America should pay more taxes.
More than 60 groups organized the rallies from Wall Street to Water Street, which culminated with a final rally in Battery Park.
Union leaders and the Reverend Al Sharpton led one procession.
"I wanted to march today with the teachers, with union workers, to say to Wall Street that the battle has to come to you. You recovered, you have now given out more bonuses than many of our schools have budgets for," said Sharpton.
"When we’re being prepared for layoffs and our children are being threatened with harm, it’s very simple. The mayor needs to make the choice to use the surplus that belongs to the City of New York and to stop playing political games with children’s futures," said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers.
Some protesters said they came to send the message that they need help with more important fights of their own.
"You have to begin to make choices. How much of my rent am I going to pay this month, as opposed to how much food am I going to pay this month?" said a protester.
"Corporate bigwigs get to go home for the night with larger and larger bonuses, despite the economic state of our country," said another protester.
Earlier Thursday, Mayor Michael Bloomberg deflected blame for the decisions to Albany.
"Rather than being downtown protesting, it might have been more useful if they were up in Albany with our administration protesting the $6 billion in cuts that affected all of the cutbacks at state level that really hurt the city," said Bloomberg.
The mayor said he is using most of this year’s surplus for next year’s budget.
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