Wyclef Among Arrests At NYC Protest

Ten people, including singer Wyclef Jean, were arrested as thousands of teachers and students turned out yesterday (June 4) for a rally to hear hip-hop stars and politicians denounce proposed cuts in

Ten people, including singer Wyclef Jean, were arrested as thousands of teachers and students turned out yesterday (June 4) for a rally to hear hip-hop stars and politicians denounce proposed cuts in New York school funding. All those arrested during the rally near City Hall were charged with disorderly conduct, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said. Jean was arrested for disorderly conduct after he attempted to perform. The event's permit barred performances.

One person was also charged with assaulting an officer, who suffered minor injuries. The rally, which police say attracted some 20,000 school children, was organized by the United Federation of Teachers and the Hip Hop Summit Action Network, a group organized by rap impresario Russell Simmons.

Entertainers including Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu, Jay-Z, and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs told the crowd that Mayor Michael Bloomberg's budget cuts are unfair to students. "You've got a mayor who's a billionaire who wants to take the opportunity away from you to become the same kind of person," rapper Chuck D. told the crowd.

"We're here about our future, your future, the city's future," said LL Cool J. "Just like you need money to run a business, you need money to run schools. You need to care enough to pay the teachers so the teachers care enough to teach the students. When we're old, we want our youth to be educated enough to run this country."

The protest was the latest in a series of demonstrations opposing proposed cuts to city schools and calling for pay raises for teachers. Bloomberg has said budget cuts are necessary to bridge the city's $5 billion budget deficit. Noting the number of students present, Bloomberg spokesman Ed Skyler said he hoped teachers had not allowed students to cut class for the afternoon rally.


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