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Hundreds of police protest outside national mayoral conference

BOSTON (AP) _ Hundreds of police officers and other union workers picketed outside a hotel Friday in support of a better-paying contract as mayors from across the country gathered for a conference.

The police picketers, who were joined by ironworkers, firefighters and bus drivers, said they wanted to get the attention of Mayor Thomas Menino's colleagues at the four-day U.S. Conference of Mayors.

``We hope they'll support us in our effort to get a new contract,'' said Officer Tim Horan, who picketed with 13-year-old daughter, Nicole. ``This is a thing about families and it's about us trying to take care of our families.''

The police union has been actively promoting its case for a raise of about 17 percent over four years, compared to the 11.9 percent raise offered by Menino.

Two weeks ago, picketing city union workers caused a three-day delay of renovations to the FleetCenter for the Democratic National Convention, and protests are planned during the convention itself next month.

The two sides last met in the week following the FleetCenter picketing and are waiting to hear back from a mediator.

Sen. Edward M. Kennedy had been scheduled to address the mayors at a Friday luncheon, but canceled. Kennedy spokesman David Smith said the senator wanted to attend a hearing on the power transition in Iraq that had been rescheduled from Thursday, and that the change was unrelated to the picketing.
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