Outside a shuttered State Capitol, hundreds of state employees and their supporters held a night time rally Thursday as a government shutdown in Minnesota seemed almost inevitable.
Some held signs that read “Tax The Richest 2%”. A group sang “This Land Is Your Land”, and one person held an American flag. Another held a sign that said, “Republicans Have Failed”.
As the rally began, Sen. Julianne Ortman, R-Chanhassen, the Senate Taxes Committee chair, eyed the protesters as she quietly walked to her car.
“Tonight, we are filled with sadness and anxiety [as] we mourn the loss of public service,” said Eliot Seide, executive director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 5, the state’s largest public employee union.
“We are saddened that the Republican legislature would dispose of us like yesterday’s garbage,” said Seide, speaking on the State Capitol steps, and referring to the state employees who would lose their jobs during a shutdown.
As Seide spoke, a heckler yelled that both Republicans and DFLers were responsible for the shutdown. And although they were outnumbered, a few protesters stood nearby, with one holding a sign that read, “Liberalism 101: Tax, Tax, Tax, Spend, Spend, Spend.”
After briefing reporters inside the State Capitol, and all but acknowledging that the shutdown was inevitable, Senate Minority Leader Tom Bakk and House Minority Paul Thissen joined the rally. The two DFL leaders were joined by several other DFL legislators at the rally.
“We Want To Work!” the crowd chanted.
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