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In a nod to the holiday classic, the collection of tents that have popped up around the capitol in Wisconsin have been named, “Walkerville.” Protesters began camping out last week to protest the budget cuts which could be enacted this week, led by Governor Scott Walker. That budget bill may also include the anti-union provisions which passed but then got tied up in a court challenge over the procedures used to pass them.
The Walkerville protest is more organized than the spontaneous marches that erupted in February and lasted for weeks when the state Republicans tried to pass the measure banning collective bargaining. Organizers have a permit for Walkerville until June 20. David Boetcher, leader of pro-union coalition We Are Wisconsin, which organized the tent city, estimated that about 80 tents and 250 people were camped out over the weekend. Boetcher said the protests would continue until the state budget is voted on.”This is about changing the minds of the people of Wisconsin,” Boetcher said.
On Monday, at least eight people were arrested during a large protest organized by former Senator and liberal champion Russ Feingold. Thousands of protesters and taxicabs marched around and in the capitol. Despite the recent court ruling that requires the Capitol building to remain open to the public, protesters were arrested for entering the public building. The ACLU successfully sued the Department of Administration after the government attempted to limit access to the building during the February protests. Capitol police officers tackled and arrested reporters in an effort, so it seems, to prevent video of them locking the doors. Another disturbing event happened last week at a Joint Finance Committee meeting. Protesters engaged in civil disobedience were carried out of the room during the meeting.
At a news conference Monday, Chief Charles Tubbs said Capitol police would be looking to recruit more state law enforcement officers to work in the Capitol in the coming weeks.”We’re looking at all types of security measures,” Tubbs said. The police chief said four people were arrested Monday for disorderly conduct in the Capitol, and one more person was arrested for opening the doors on the first floor of the Capitol that are currently locked. At least three protesters were arrested and ticketed at the rally Monday around the Capitol Square.