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Originally published Friday, April 8, 2011 at 1:32 PM

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Thousands flood WA Capitol to oppose budget cuts

Thousands of union members from all over Washington have poured into the state Capitol to demand an end to corporate tax breaks and painful cuts to public programs.

The Associated Press

OLYMPIA, Wash. —

Thousands of union members from all over Washington have poured into the state Capitol to demand an end to corporate tax breaks and painful cuts to public programs.

The rally is the largest of four days of boisterous demonstrations in Olympia over spending cuts lawmakers are considering to help close a looming $5 billion budget deficit.

The Washington State Patrol estimates 7,000 people are gathered outside the main legislative building to hear speakers such as Wisconsin state Sen. Spencer Coggs, who attempted to block that state's controversial new law eliminating most union rights for public employees.

Protesters say they hope the demonstration will remind legislators who their decisions are affecting as they work to craft the state's next two-year budget. House lawmakers plan to vote this week on a budget plan that includes $4.4 billion in cuts.

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