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Budget Cut Protests
Thousands of union members rally in Olympia
A week of protests over state budget cuts culminated with a large union-led rally Friday at the Capitol in Olympia.
The State Patrol estimated the crowd at 7,000 people. There were signs and chants, and a sea of unionized workers on the steps to the Capitol and Supreme Court.
Speaker after speaker decried cuts to health care and social services. They called for an end to tax breaks for businesses. Greg Parker, president of the Washington Public Employee Association, demanded that majority Democrats to send a tax measure to voters:
"Repeal the tax exemptions that you know are sitting in front of you. Be brave, put a referendum on the ballot."
Another speaker was one of the Wisconsin State Senators who fled that state during the recent collective bargaining showdown.
After the rally, a firefighter pipe and drum band led marchers through the Capitol building while dozens of State Troopers stood watch and blocked the entrance to the Governor's office.