Protestors take on Memphis City Council - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Protestors take on Memphis City Council

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Hundreds of people gathered outside of city hall in a rally that began at noon. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) Hundreds of people gathered outside of city hall in a rally that began at noon. (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)

(WMC) - Protesters hope Memphis City Council members heed their warnings. Deficits prompted Memphis City Council to make several budget cuts, which are making life tough for some city employees.

Starting at noon Tuesday, more than 200 supporters showed up at city hall to send a message to Memphis city leaders that health care cuts are unacceptable.

A disabled woman in a wheelchair crossed the trolley line and fell out of her chair. It was first responders who ran to help her. Memphis Fire and Police supporters say this is exactly why Memphis city leaders should not wipe away first responder's healthy care because they take care of others.

"For police officers the criminals here in Memphis, the criminal element, don't just automatically surrender," Chett Hopper with MFD explained. "More times than not they shoot back, they run, they make you chase them … you're going to get injured if you work 25 to 30 years on that job. Firemen are the same way."

Hopper says these men and women have some of the most dangerous jobs. He says criminals do not retreat and fires do not put themselves out.

Councilwoman Janis Fullilove says she believes the showing of solidarity is having a major impact.

"And I think the administration and those council people that can now see that they see how they have hurt families I mean multiple families," Fullilove said.

Hopper says he believes the way the retirees have been treated is just an injustice.

Ultimately, the protesters want Memphis leaders to rethink the cuts they say are unfair to Memphis firefighters and police.

Laura Rae, the daughter of a Memphis firefighter, organized the rally and several organizations are supporting the effort.

"You don't have to have a direct tie with a firefighter or police officer to be involved in this. This directly affects Memphis whether people realize it or not," Rae.

Lisa Selig-Rolin has several family members and friends who are firefighters and police officers.

"These guys work hard to protect us and save our lives, and I think they deserve everything they're entitled to," she said.

Dwight Montgomery with Southern Christian Leadership Conference said, "I think that it's unfair when we do a lot of things in this community and spend a lot of money in a lot of areas and do not invest in those persons who put their lives on the line."

"These people are running into burning buildings getting back injuries stuff falling on their heads lifting people on gurneys over a thirty year period that stuff breaks even the strongest person down," Hopper added.

The group hopes to go before the city council on Tuesday to impress upon them the importance of supporting those employees.

Some council members say they've already got the message.

"Even today Councilman [Edmund] Ford presented a supplemental concept plan. He was one who supported the health care cuts, and obviously he's recognized the need that we've left some people without health benefits," Council member Wanda Halbert said.

Several reports of people who are retired say they started the job when they were 21, 22 worked 25 years old, and they are nowhere near Medicare eligible.

Click here to see a slideshow with some of the most unique signs from the protest.

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