NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Protesters took to the streets of Lower Manhattan Thursday afternoon to denounce deep city budget cuts and demand higher taxes for Wall Street companies.

There were nine separate gatherings — all of which sought to blow the whistle on what they said were tax breaks for the wealthy.

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“People are suffering, the middle-class is suffering while the billionaires are just becoming richer and richer,” a teacher named “Nancy” told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones.

1010 WINS’ Al Jones Speaks With Protesters In Lower Manhattan

Another protester, named “Josh,” expressed similar sentiments, saying the budget cuts likely axing about 6,000 teachers will be devastating.

“The profession of teaching is basically being destroyed in the classroom, in school buildings all over New York City,” he said.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg argued that the protesters should really be marching in Albany. He said sharp cuts in state aid left him no choice but to cut thousands of teachers.

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Among the speakers at the protest were Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, and City Councilman Charles Barron.

“When Wall Street has recovered, shared responsibility means shared responsibility,” Weingarten said.

“If they don’t do us right, we’re going to shut this city down. Shut it down. Shut it down,” Barron said.

Thursday’s protest followed a City Hall gathering on Wednesday in which parents, children, teachers and union leaders lashed out at Bloomberg’s proposed education budget cuts.

“Tell Mayor Bloomberg if he messes with our children, the next demonstration is going to be at his house,” Barron said Wednesday.

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