Protestors from various unions are attending Cumbria County Council's budget meeting in Kendal. Councillors are due to vote on a raft of cuts in order to save £24 million this year.
The Council has to save nearly £90 million over three years due to cuts in central government funding.
Proposals include operational changes to fire and rescue services and cuts to subsidised bus services.
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Early enquiries suggest the men may have taken the drug Blue Valium. Two of them remain in hospital with breathing problems.
More than 8,000 people are expected to attend over the three day event, which starts at 7pm tonight.
The local MP and leader of the Liberal Democrats says it was a "joyful" day for locals and former locals alike.