Protesters Send Messages to Mayor

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(Wall Street Journal) — Thousands of chanting protesters flooded the streets of Lower Manhattan Thursday afternoon, marching from City Hall to Wall Street to denounce Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal to lay off 4,100 teachers and calling on him to halt tax breaks for big banks.  The protesters chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Bloomberg’s got to go” and “Tax the rich, not the poor” as they headed down Broadway in a demonstration designed to send a message to the mayor and the City Council about the upcoming city budget.  Last week, Mr. Bloomberg officially proposed eliminating more than 6,100 teaching positions, with the majority through layoffs and the rest via attrition. The mayor also recommended axing another 4,000 positions elsewhere in the city as part of his executive budget proposal for the fiscal year beginning July 1.  The budget must be negotiated with the City Council during the next six weeks. “When one has a surplus, we do not take it out on children, we do not take it out on teachers,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers and immediate past president of the teachers union in New York City. “This is ridiculous, Mr. Mayor. There should not even be a discussion about layoffs.”

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