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New Yorkers Take Over State Capitol to Protest State Budget

March 31, 2011

Last night over 1,000 parents, students and community members occupied the State Capitol in Albany to protest a devastating state budget that slashes $1 billion from schools and millions from social services, while cutting taxes for the rich. Although sessions are traditionally open to the public, Governor Cuomo ordered state troopers to close the chambers to the public (see photo below).  Senator Kevin Parker observed that it was the first time in his 9 years in office that the public wasn’t allowed in the chambers for a legislative session. Cuomo was aiming to pass the budget before midnight, which would have made him the first Governor since his father to pass an early budget. However, because of the massive protests, the budget did not pass the Assembly until after 1am. 450 people slept in meeting rooms on the concourse, and Senator Eric Adams brought his pillow and joined them. The protesters are members of the NYC Coalition for Educational Justice, the Alliance for Quality Education, New York Communities for Change, Make the Road NY, Community Voices Heard, VOCAL-NY, Right to the City, the Professional Staff Congress, Real Rent Reform, Citizen Action, SUNY campuses and other organizations. Read the Albany Times Union for detailed coverage of the protests.

This morning, hundreds of protesters are still chanting outside the Governor’s office, “Come out, come out, and face the people you left out!” and “Governor Cuomo, show your face! This budget is a disgrace!” Look at the photos and the videos below.

Press conference at the Capitol

Over 1,000 parents, students and community members fill the State Capitol to protest the budget.

Cuomo closes the chambers to the public.

Children get ready to camp-in at the Capitol.

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