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Thousands of protesters surround Wisconsin Capitol

 


Thousands of protesters surround Wisconsin Capitol

DINESH RAMDE

TODD RICHMOND

Associated Press

MADISON, Wis. — A state Capitol thrown into chaos swelled for a fifth day with thousands of protesters, as supporters of Republican efforts to scrap the union rights of state workers added their voices to the debate for the first time and GOP leaders insisted again Saturday there was no room for compromise.

Supporters of Gov. Scott Walker and his effort to ease Wisconsin's budget woes by cutting many government workers' pay, benefits and bargaining rights gathered on the east side of the Capitol, surrounded by a much larger group of pro-labor demonstrators who since Tuesday have filled the Capitol with chanting, drum-beats and anti-Walker slogans.

Saturday's line-up included a rally organized by Tea Party Patriots, the movement's largest umbrella group, and Americans for Prosperity. Their supporters carried signs with a fresh set of messages: "Your Gravy Train Is Over . . . Welcome to the Recession" and "Sorry, we're late Scott. We work for a living."

"We did have an election and Scott Walker won," said Deborah Arndt, 53, of Sheboygan Falls. "I think our governor will stand strong. I have faith in him."

Arndt and the other conservative backers of Walker had their faith rewarded shortly before the start of the noon rally, when Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald reaffirmed that Republicans — who took control of both the state Senate and Assembly in November — have the votes needed pass the measure.

MADISON, Wis. — A state Capitol thrown into chaos swelled for a fifth day with thousands of protesters, as supporters of Republican efforts to scrap the union rights of state workers added their voices to the debate for the first time and GOP leaders insisted again Saturday there was no room for compromise.

Supporters of Gov. Scott Walker and his effort to ease Wisconsin's budget woes by cutting many government workers' pay, benefits and bargaining rights gathered on the east side of the Capitol, surrounded by a much larger group of pro-labor demonstrators who since Tuesday have filled the Capitol with chanting, drum-beats and anti-Walker slogans.

Saturday's line-up included a rally organized by Tea Party Patriots, the movement's largest umbrella group, and Americans for Prosperity. Their supporters carried signs with a fresh set of messages: "Your Gravy Train Is Over . . . Welcome to the Recession" and "Sorry, we're late Scott. We work for a living."

"We did have an election and Scott Walker won," said Deborah Arndt, 53, of Sheboygan Falls. "I think our governor will stand strong. I have faith in him."

Arndt and the other conservative backers of Walker had their faith rewarded shortly before the start of the noon rally, when Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald reaffirmed that Republicans — who took control of both the state Senate and Assembly in November — have the votes needed pass the measure.

 

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