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Police say Albany protesters will face charges of disorderly conduct

2011-03-02T20:23:00Z Police say Albany protesters will face charges of disorderly conductThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 02, 2011 8:23 pm  • 

ALBANY - More than 100 protesters chanting opposition to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to cut program funding for the poor while giving tax breaks to the rich blocked central stairs and hallways in the Capitol for an hour Wednesday afternoon.

State police said they arrested 17 people who would be charged with disorderly conduct, arraigned before a judge and released later Wednesday. Handfuls of demonstrators held long banners across the stairways and escalator leading to Empire State Plaza and to three Capitol corridors.

That forced state workers and visitors to struggle past or step over, sometimes with troopers’ help, or seek another route.

Dozens of other protesters streamed around the Capitol lobby carrying signs calling for jobs, housing and higher taxes on the rich. One carried an American flag. They chanted, changing phrases every few minutes.

“Show me what democracy looks like; this is what democracy looks like.”

“Hey you millionaire; pay your fair share.”

“You say Cuomo; we say hell no.”

Protest organizer Wanda Hernandez, a board member from the activist group VOCAL New York, said the group opposes cutting social programs and closing hospitals and schools while letting an income tax surcharge on the wealthiest New Yorkers expire after this year. 

Gloria Wilson, a demonstrator from Community Voices Heard, said protesters want Cuomo to stand strong and resist special interests.

In Albany, grassroots protest is big business. The groups flood Albany on legislative session days, boxed lunches in hand, after fully alerting the media. They can operate on tax-deductible donations, government or pork-barrel grants, some gifts from like-minded unions and charitable or political action groups.

On Wednesday, the effort came in three chartered buses, with those who face the real cuts in services and aid led by full-time staffers who know how to play to the TV cameras to maximize the impact of a couple dozen or 100 protesters and steering reporters to heart-wrenching personal profiles for which they prep their clients. Wednesday’s organizers, for example, alerted all reporters of the planned arrests, giving a 15-minute time frame for the spontaneous events.

Cuomo spokesman Josh Vlasto declined to comment on the protest.

“Today we are taking over the Capitol,” Hernandez told the cheering crowd. She said if they couldn’t succeed Wednesday they would return.

Jennifer Flynn, an AIDS activist from Brooklyn, held one end of the banner blocking the stairs. She kept talking even as a trooper took her out in handcuffs. “It’s unfair for Gov. Cuomo to target the most vulnerable New Yorkers,” she said.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(11) Comments

  1. woodsplitter
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    woodsplitter - March 04, 2011 7:03 am
    Well Johndoeny60 I thought that was what Mr.Cuomo was doing,He realizes that we have no money,and to try to bring the budget back out of the black every program and department needs to be looked at to see where less money will be spent.I think he should take out a lot of the big pencil pushers that abuse their power.One example would be to get rid of the DMV person that took so long to get the bike owners bike back,after a judge ruled in favor of the bike owner. A judge rules not DMV.just one example of a person that shouldn't have their job.
  2. johndoeny60
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    johndoeny60 - March 03, 2011 5:45 pm
    Why don't this suprise anyone ?
    The rich will always stick together on anything. Just look at the poor politicians that are crying about there LULU being in question. There brand new cars (we pay for) that are in question.

    The rich are the biggest criminals going .

    I can't waite intill the People of New York wake up and realize that are NY government is nothing but criminals that care nothing about the working class.

    WHEN are people going to WAKE UP ? Take the blinders off people.
  3. Stephne
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    Stephne - March 03, 2011 3:17 pm
    how many jobs have the rich created since the Bush tax cuts?

    The rich have all kinds of tax shelters unlike the rest of us who consider ourselves lucky to have a shelter to call home.
  4. PfortE
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    PfortE - March 03, 2011 2:32 pm
    Speaking of whining, Smith29-2, I'll go get my violin and you can tell us more about how everyone is getting handouts, and how free diapers and Top Ramen for the poor is bankrupting this country.

    listen2me: if high taxes drive away business, then why would every officer and director of Wal-mart give their right eye to open a store in downtown Manhattan? The economic principles that guide a state like Idaho or Nebraska are ineffective here. The market here is massive, yet we who actually live here suffer all its woes while deriving no benefits.

    I support these unions, largely because I would hate most of their jobs, but mostly because I recognize they are scapegoats for the real problems here.

    The wealth distribution curve has gotten very, very ugly over the last 25 years. At the same time Americans are looking at one another and asking "are we in decline?" It's not a coincidence. We can start by reimposing the stock transfer tax, and by not firing public service employees.
  5. Smith29-2
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    Smith29-2 - March 03, 2011 10:02 am
    I wish they would do this in Wisconsin and every other state where these freeloaders have gathered to whine about getting more handouts. Personally, arrest them all. How hard is it to realize that the state, and all but 4 states in this country are broke, the federal govt is broke due to all the handouts. Welfare, food stamps, medicaid, SSi have all been abused because of no oversight for years, and when it comes election time our politicians promise more handouts. I still have not heard anything from our own reps on this. Please say something Ms. Sayward and Ms. Little, your constituents are waiting for change. I'm sorry to say I voted for both of you, you have done nothing to stop the abuses in Albany and in your districts.
  6. sgf2nyc
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    sgf2nyc - March 03, 2011 8:07 am
    THis is democracy at work. The populace has the right to protest and the gov't. the right to prosecute. I'm sure the protesters were well aware of the potential for arrest and decided it was a risk worth taking. Agree or disagree with the issue at hand, but this is what our forefathers gave their lives for. Just look at how the protesters in Libya have been dealt with, that should give anyone pause.
  7. listen2me
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    listen2me - March 03, 2011 7:07 am
    The rich create jobs...Not the poor. If they move they take their money with them. Stop taxing them so much. Make the poor work. It is the only way to go.
  8. patcher
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    patcher - March 03, 2011 6:44 am
    The fact of the matter is the very same people we see demonstrating are the ones responsible for our country being broke. Keep on demonstrating so we know who you are when we all meet on the food lines.
  9. overtaxed
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    overtaxed - March 03, 2011 6:38 am
    I say get the 100's if not 1,000.00's of people off welfare and disability that shouldn't be on it because there's not a dam thing wrong with them. They just know how to beat the system. Then you probably wouldn't have to cut benefits for the people that really need them.
  10. cutwaste
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    cutwaste - March 03, 2011 6:15 am
    NYS is in deep trouble due to bad tax policies for too many years. "The Rich" will not be sitting ducks so that a group of people not interested in work will get a free ride.
    "The Rich" are voting with their feet and are leaving the state in huge numbers. Governor Cuomo , you are on the right track, stick to eat and be fair and maybe there will be some hope to revive the sinking ship.
  11. retired
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    retired - March 02, 2011 9:20 pm
    I didn't vote for Cuomo, but I feel that he has a tough job trying to make ends meet for the state due to an incompetent legislative side of the state government. I also feel that many of the protesters were compensated for their demonstration. The true taxpaying citizens are most likely watching to see what is done to correct our state government which is broke in more ways than one. So let the judge decide, and let the demonstrators get their bail paid for by the groups which put them there.

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