Protesters Leave Wis. Capitol After 17-day Sit-In

Thursday, 03 Mar 2011 11:43 PM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

MADISON, Wis. — Pro-union protesters who had been camping out at the Wisconsin Capitol for 17 days vacated the building peacefully late Thursday after a judge ordered the building closed at night but ruled the state was wrong to restrict access to the building during the day.

With a group hug, and singing "Solidarity Forever," about 50 protesters grabbed their sleeping bags, pillows and drums and left through two rows of Democratic state lawmakers and others who thanked them for their efforts.

Police confirmed that all of the protesters had departed, and that there had been no arrests.

The peaceful departure came after two hours of back-and-forth exchanges between the police and demonstrators, who demanded to see the court order saying they had to leave.

University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Chief Susan Riseling read the order to the crowd, eliciting cheers when she read the judge's determination that the state had unconstitutionally restricted the public's access to the building. The Department of Administration, which operates the building, this week began restricting the number of protesters allowed in at any time.

It was the part of the judge's order saying protesters had to leave on Thursday night that caused consternation among the group. Former Attorney General Peggy Lautenschlager, who challenged the state's decision to limit building access, told them, "We won this battle."

But she also told the crowd they needed to leave.

Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs repeatedly urged the crowd to leave peacefully.

"I don't want to see anybody arrested," he said.

Ultimately, the protesters left without incident. At least one of them was still in a Capitol hallway after the others had departed as police scoured the building to look for stragglers.

"We decided we didn't want to stoop to the level of Scotty and his minions. We decided it would be best for our image to leave tonight peacefully and come back tomorrow," said Matt Rowe, 21, of Madison, carrying an armful of blankets after he left the building.

Protesters have been demonstrating in and around the Capitol building since Feb. 15 against a bill pushed by the state's new Republican governor, Scott Walker, that would strip most public employees of nearly all of their collective bargaining rights.

Walker contends that the legislation, which also calls for the public employees to cover more of the costs of their pension and health plans, is necessary to balance the state's budget and to give local municipalities the flexibility they need to deal with pending budget cuts.

Unions and Democrats say the bill is a blatant attempt to weaken the unions, which are an important part of the Democratic Party's power base.

The bill passed in the state Assembly but stalled in the state Senate because all 14 Democratic members skipped town two weeks ago, deny their Republican colleagues the quorum they need to vote on the issue.

© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

US Hikes Fees for Renouncing Citizenship

Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 22:22 PM

The United States has more than quadrupled the fee to renounce citizenship as record numbers of citizens file to become  . . .

Rabbi Boteach: New York Times Censored Our Anti-Radical Islam Ad

Sunday, 31 Aug 2014 22:13 PM

The New York Times has censored an advertisement taken out by the pro-Jewish group This World: The Values Network, its e . . .

Report: Doctors Bringing Joan Rivers Out of Medical Coma

Saturday, 30 Aug 2014 18:19 PM

Comedian Joan Rivers, who went into cardiac arrest at a doctor's office, was being brought out of her medically induced  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved