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Days after budget, 'Bloombergville' protesters go home

Jimmy Ryles, 24, volunteers at Bloombergville on Broadway

Jimmy Ryles, 24, volunteers at Bloombergville on Broadway and Park in Tribeca on Tuesday, July 5, 2011. Photo Credit: RJ Mickelson

After three weeks of camping out near City Hall, the few lingering “Bloombergville” protesters headed home Wednesday night, convinced they made a difference.

At one point, more than 100 protestors attempted to defeat Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $66 billion budget, which was approved by a near-unanimous vote by the city council last week and cut funding for schools and libraries and will lead to 1,000 city employee layoffs.

Although the budget passed, organizer Teresa Stern said the protests were successful.

“Our primary purpose was to press the city council on the budget vote and to raise public awareness, and we accomplished that,” Stern said.

Ilya Geller of Staten Island, who was one of the dozens of people who spent nights in sleeping bags, handed out fliers and created posters, said the group would go back to their communities and work with people who were impacted by the service cuts.

“We will not stand for austerity, for cuts to our needed social services, especially when they affect not only the majority of New Yorkers, but particularly the most disenfranchised New Yorkers,” Geller, 24, said.

Bloomberg spokesman Marc LaVorgna said the protesters should have lobbied state legislators sooner, adding that decreased state funding was to blame for slashing city services.

“We are wondering why they weren't camped out in Albany months ago,” LaVorgna said.

(With Gabrielle Bruney)

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