Wisconsin Protesters Win Night in Capitol After Police Back Down

Monday, 28 Feb 2011 06:41 AM


  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

Demonstrators occupying the Wisconsin capitol in support of state workers for almost two weeks defied a deadline to leave and authorities backed down, rather than make arrests.

The victory in Madison yesterday came after marchers, estimated by police at more than 70,000, paraded through the city’s downtown Feb. 26 in opposition to Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to curb collective bargaining for government employees.

Madison is the focus of protests against Republican-led efforts in Wisconsin, Ohio and New Jersey to cut benefits and bargaining power for public employees. Democrats in Wisconsin’s Senate blocked Walker’s measure last week by fleeing to Illinois, to prevent the chamber from having a quorum.

“People are realizing that if they want their voice heard, they’ve got to yell loud,” said Maya Madden, a demonstrator in the Capitol yesterday. Madden, 66, who owns an art gallery and tea shop in Long Rock, Wisconsin, said she was prepared to be arrested for refusing to leave.

Arrests have been “next to none” since protesters began their occupation, Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs told reporters yesterday. Tubbs said he decided not to have officers remove anyone because the demonstrators have been “outstanding” in maintaining peaceful opposition.

“I think this is the best way of dealing with this issue,” Tubbs said of the low-key approach by police.

The crowd was told to leave so the building could be cleaned. When they remained, crews swept and mopped around them.

Alongside Protesters

State Representative Kelda Helen Roys, a Democrat from Madison, stood alongside protesters as the 4 p.m. deadline, set by the Capitol police on Feb. 25, came and went.

“I consider it part of my job to listen to the citizens and ensure their voices are heard,” she said. “This is a systematic attempt by the Republicans and Governor Walker to curtail worker rights and trample on our democracy.”

The measure, which increases the amount government employees except police and firefighters must pay toward their health care premiums and pension contributions, aims to close a projected $137 million deficit for the current fiscal year and a $3.6 billion gap in the next biennium, Walker has said.

“If we do not get these changes and the Senate Democrats don’t come back, we’re going to be forced to make up the savings in layoffs and that to me is just unacceptable,” Walker said yesterday on NBC’s Meet the Press.

Democratic Leader

Unions have agreed to accept the increased costs for the members if Walker drops the limits on collective bargaining, Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller of Monona, one of the Democrats who left the state, said last week by telephone from an Illinois location he wouldn’t disclose.

The bill passed the Republican-controlled Assembly just after 1 a.m. on Feb. 25 after a marathon session lasting more than 60 hours. In the Senate, 14 Democrats left the state last week in order to delay a vote by the Republican-controlled body.

Not all the protesters stayed put yesterday. Law enforcement blocked entry to the second and third floors as signs, pillows and blankets were left behind, relegating protesters to the ground and first floors. They drummed, sang “Solidarity Forever” to the tune of the Battle Hymn of the Republic, and chanted “Hell no, we won’t go!” and “Who’s house? Our house!”

© Copyright 2014 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  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
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

O'Reilly: Colbert Has 'No Bleeping Clue' How to Fight ISIS

Monday, 29 Sep 2014 22:40 PM

Fox News host Bill O'Reilly shot back at Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert, who last week mocked O'Reilly's idea of a mer . . .

Vatican Sends Official to KC in Pedophile Shielding Case

Monday, 29 Sep 2014 21:39 PM

The Vatican has sent a church official to Kansas City to examine the leadership of Roman Catholic Bishop Robert Finn, wh . . .

Attorney: Psychiatric Exam Could Mean Jailed Marine's Freedom

Monday, 29 Sep 2014 20:48 PM

Andrew Tahmooressi, a Marine sergeant jailed in Mexico after he said he mistakenly crossed the border with three guns, w . . .

Most Commented

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

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