Hundreds gather downtown to rally against cuts to government programs

CLEVELAND - A couple hundred protesters, worried about looming cuts to social programs, loudly raised their voices in Cleveland today, shouting, "No cuts now, no cuts ever."

They are worried about cuts to some programs that have become staples for Americans: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

"This is a promise that our government has made to the American people, said protester Wynne Antonio.  "They worked in good faith all their lives and paid in to these systems and they deserve to keep them in place."

On a clear but chilly day downtown, they gathered at 11:30am first in Public Square against a backdrop of holiday decorations.  The protestors came from labor unions, church groups and health care organizations.

They say a lot of people depend on the programs that could face cuts.

"Tens of millions of people, over a hundred million people in this country, and this whole thing is a hoax," protester Jerry Gordon told NewsChannel5's Scott Newell.  "These cuts...there's no justification whatever for these cuts."

They are concerned that automatic cuts to safety net programs are scheduled to begin in January 2013, after the failure of the "Super Committee" to reach a deal on deficit reduction.

Many of the programs will go broke without some changes, but these protesters suggest where to start.

"Cutting defense spending, increasing taxes on the rich or ending the Bush-era tax cuts, however you want to look at it," said Sri Kavuru, a protester who is also a small business owner.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich led the group on a march to the federal building, where they were joined by Congresswoman Marcia Fudge.

She told the crowd, "I want you to know that I am with you all. I'm going to continue to fight the battle every day."

Kucinich added, "We have to make sure Americans who work a lifetime have something after that."

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