15 arrested at Tax Bill protest on Wall Street
New York, NY — About 500 protesters chanting “Kill the Bill, Don’t Kill Us!” filled the street outside the New York Stock Exchange on December 19, 2017; where the resources siphoned from the poor and middle class by the Republican tax bill will be concentrated. More than 60 people lay down in the street for a die-in and 15 protesters were arrested blocking access to the Stock Exchange.

The die-in, organized by unions, community groups and religious organizations, happened at the center of corporate profiteering on the eve of the Congressional vote on the tax bill. It was organized in coordination with another protest today in Washington D.C. Both actions pressed Congress to stop the tax give-away to corporations and the rich.

Half of Americans think the tax bill will lead to higher, not lower, taxes for themselves and their families. The bill is hugely unpopular with the public, but Republican Congress members are advancing it anyway to mollify their big-money campaign contributors. “My donors are basically saying, ‘Get it done or don’t ever call me again,’” U.S. Rep. Chris Collins, R-Western New York, said recently.

New Yorkers know that the tax bill is an attack on their state and on its people. That’s why this diverse group of activists came together to defend working people, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, the young and the sick.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James led the protesters in chants of “Tax the Rich, Not the Poor” and spoke before the event. She was joined by Professional Staff Congress President Barbara Bowen, who was one of the arrestees, Reverend Brian Gibbs of the New York Council of Churches and Michael Kink, Executive Director of the Strong Economy For All Coalition.

The protesters blocked the main entrance to the Stock Exchange and much of the intersection of Wall and Broad Streets. They held tombstone shaped signs, signs that said “Tax the Rich!” and “Stop Wall Street Theft” and giant checks written out to “the very rich.” When police warned the crowd to move or face arrest, 15 protesters refused and were arrested. As the police arrested the protesters who refused to move, the crowd continued the non-violent demonstration.

If passed, the Republican tax bill (#GOPTaxScam on Twitter) will be a gift for Wall Street corporations. But it will mean tax increases for many in the middle class, deep cuts to Medicare, and state and local cuts to heath care, public schools, universities and other services. It will cause deficits that conservatives will use to put Social Security and other safety-net programs on the chopping block.

Organizations that participated in the die-in include: Citizen Action New York, Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies, Greater New York Labor Religion Coalition, Hedge Clippers, New York City Public Advocate’s Office, New York Communities for Change, New York Progressive Action Network, New York State Council of Churches, New York State Nurses Association, North New Jersey DSA, People's Climate Movement, Professional Staff Congress/CUNY, Radical Age Movement, Rutgers University AAUP-AFT, Strong Economy for All Coalition, Working Families Party.
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