Protesters Arrested as City Council Budget Vote is Delayed
By Kiratiana Freelon on June 28, 2011 6:35pm |
By Jill Colvin
MANHATTAN — Thirteen protesters were arrested after barricading themselves inside a government building Tuesday night, as the City Council scrambled to ready the 2012 budget for a vote.
After marching down Broadway, members of New Yorkers Against Budget cuts, who have been camping out across from City Hall in what they've dubbed "Bloombergville" for the past two weeks, swarmed 250 Broadway, where Council members' offices are.
When they arrived, about 10 protesters had already planted themselves inside the lobby of the building, where they tied themselves together using plastic ties in an effort to block Council members from attending the vote.
"No layoffs! No compromise!" the protesters shouted to the beat of drums, as police handcuffed them one by one.
"We want to stop the budget cuts completely," said protester Chris McGowan, 31, from Brooklyn, who said he'd been demonstrating for the past 13 days.
"They'd rather take from the poor to spare the rich!" he said.
The Council vote had originally been scheduled for 8 p.m. While it's still planned for Tuesday night, printing of the 700-page-plus document had not even begun by 6 p.m., paving the way for a very long night.
"There are a lot of moving parts happening right now," said Council spokeswoman Maria Alvarado, who said the official start time is now yet-to-be-determined.
Alvarado said the delay had nothing to do with the fact that the Council posted its final expense budget late Monday night.
As NY1 reported, ethics rules set by the Council say member items must be made public at least 24 hours before a vote.
The new document lays out $385 million in additional Council spending, which will restore funds to numerous agencies as well as city libraries and cultural organizations.
The plan also includes close to $20 million in member items, local initiatives and discretionary spending.
But even once it's passed, the protesters at City Hall vowed to continue to fight on.
"This is just the opening salvo," Gary Roland, 32, said.