In New York City, 13 members of the group, New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts, were arrested Tuesday for barricading themselves in the lobby of the City Council to prevent a vote on a compromise budget deal. The activists have slept outside of City Hall for two weeks at a camp they called “Bloombergville,” in protest of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s budget proposal, which would have cut 6,100 teachers and made deep cuts to education spending and other social services. Late Friday, a budget deal was reached, sparing the majority of teacher jobs and spending cuts. But critics maintain all austerity measures can be averted by increasing taxes on the wealthy. Activists at Bloombergville continue to protest the 2,600 teachers lost to attrition, a $178 million cut to education spending, and the layoffs of 1,000 public sector employees. Ileia Burgos is an activist with New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts.
Ileia Burgos, New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts: “This proposal is still going to affect people who are the poorest in New York City. That’s going to be poor, elderly folk. That’s going to be mothers and children who are in need of these services that only the city can provide for free. It’s still going to affect mostly poor people of color. And like me, I’m amongst the working class, and I’m amongst the working poor in different sections. I have three jobs. I’m going to be one of those people who also needs medical coverage from the city. And this is who it’s going to affect, me and my family, people who are going to need it the most and can’t get it any other way, even though we work.”