Wisconsin officials decide not to evict protesters from Capitol
Opponents of an anti-union bill can stay for now, police say; the Republican governor stands firm behind his proposal.
By Abby Sewell,
February 28, 2011
Hordes of union members, students and activists staged the sleep-in to dramatize opposition to Republican Gov. Scott Walker's attempt to eliminate collective bargaining for most government workers.
The state Department of Administration had announced Friday that the Capitol would close at 4 p.m. Sunday for cleaning and reopen at 8 a.m. Monday. As the deadline approached, some demonstrators left. But hundreds remained, preparing for arrest.
About 7 p.m., Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs said the remaining protesters could stay the night as long as they otherwise continued to abide by laws.
The Capitol sleep-in has been almost uniformly peaceful, with only a few arrests on minor charges, Tubbs said. Many police are sympathetic to the protesters' cause, although most public safety employees are exempt from the bill.
The measure passed the state Assembly on Friday, but the Senate has been stymied by the lack of a quorum
Brian Austin, 40, an off-duty Madison Police Department detective and executive board member of the officers' union, was among those who stayed in the Capitol on Sunday night.
"But it's because I'm a police officer that I'm here, and it's because I'm a parent" wanting to set a good example, he said.
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs