TRENTON, NJ (CBS) — Thousands of off-duty and retired police officers and firefighters made their voices heard in Trenton on Thursday. Their target: Governor Chris Christie. They say his budget cuts are making New Jersey cities unsafe.

Anthony Weiners, president of the New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association, told the crowd, “We didn’t choose this fight, but goddamn it, we’re not running away from it!” The crowd responded with cheers.

The protests come in the wake of state property tax limits that have strained local budgets. The city of Camden is just one example, laying off half its police force.

The Republican governor and Democratic Senate president say union members should pay more for their pensions and health benefits.

Christie said he was undeterred.

“They can yell and scream and do all the things they want to do, but they have to face the facts. The facts are, the money is not there,” the governor said.

But the unions said they’re being made scapegoats.

John Williamson, president of Camden Fraternal Order of Police, said, “Stop playing politics and restore public safety in the city of Camden today.”

The governor said the pro-union rallies have “zero” effect on his decisions.

Reported by Chris May, CBS 3

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