PHILADELPHIA — Hundreds of activists upset with proposed cuts in social services spending disrupted a city budget hearing Friday, and 12 protesters were taken into custody, authorities said.
Police led the protesters from City Council chambers after Deputy Police Commissioner Thomas McGeehan asked them to move from council members' chairs so the hearing could resume.
City Solicitor Seymour Kurland said he did not know if those detained would be charged.
Mayor W. Wilson Goode last month proposed a $2-billion budget that would cut spending for the homeless, AIDS and community organizations but bolster police and health clinic staffs. Goode was not at the hearing Friday.
400 Jam Chamber
The protest was organized by a coalition of labor and community groups. About 400 people had packed the ornate chamber gallery, carrying signs saying "AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power" and "Save City Health Services."
Testimony by city finance officials had just begun when protesters began climbing over railings and seizing microphones on members' desks to make speeches or shout slogans.
Council President Joseph C. Coleman tried to gavel the protesters into silence several times but gave up before noon and called a recess. Most of the protesters then left, but about 40 stayed.
When city officials tried to reconvene the hearing, the 12 protesters who refused to go to the part of the room set aside for the public were detained. The hearing then proceeded quietly with a limited number of people allowed to sit in the spectators' gallery.