Thousands converge on Capitol after Senate Republicans vote - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Thousands converge on Capitol after Senate Republicans vote


MADISON (WKOW) -- Protesters converged on the Capitol as soon as word spread that Senate Republicans passed a bill taking away nearly all collective bargaining rights from public workers, but the building was supposed to close at 6 PM.

Streets were blocked off until nearly midnight around the Capitol square, as thousands descended upon the Capitol.

About 1,000 people made it inside before police starting turning people away. The Department of Administration estimated 6,000 rallied outside, with drums, chants, even air horns.

The thousand inside swarmed around the Senate Chambers after Senate Republicans passed their version of the bill, shouting, "Shame, Shame" and "Talk to Us!" even the familiar, "The Whole World is Watching!"

As Senate Republicans left the building, they were escorted by a dozen officers, and were also greeted to the mass of protesters chanting loudly, held back by police officers.

Thousands outside were not let inside at first as police closed the doors, but near the Martin Luther King entrance of the Capitol, the situation escalated.

People inside were held back by police, yelling "Let them in!" People outside began pounding on the glass windows, yelling, "Let us in!" A window was broken in the process.

Eventually, police began letting everyone in the building, who stayed throughout the night.

For the most part, the massive protest was similar to the peaceful ones throughout these past four weeks.

Many said they came out because of a tweet they saw, or because they heard about the vote through word of mouth.

Brandon Tewalt said, "This is so important for workers' rights. This is about freedom of speech for workers, and that's why I'm here. I'm here for the workers. We need our rights just like everybody else."

Kevin Sherry, with Local 311, said, "All our members have been up here these past weeks; we're not done yet. We'll keep up the fight and stand up for what's right."

Nyika Campbell heard about the bill from a friend, and brought her mom to the Capitol. She said, "It's important to me because it affects us kids too, some of our parents are state workers.. and it affects us. So I don't think it's right."

Protesters planned to spend the night and were still in the Capitol by the thousands past midnight.

A rally was already planned, with speakers, for 9:00 AM Thursday morning, on the corner of State Street and Mifflin. The release from ALF-CIO said rallies will also be happening at 9:00 am around the state at the following locations: Dodge County Administration Building, Eau Claire City Hall, Veterans Park in Fond du Lac, Green Bay Chamber of Commerce, La Crosse County Courthouse, Milwaukee County Courthouse, Senator Ellis' District Office in Neenah, Oshkosh Opera House Square, Platteville City Hall, Monument Square in Racine, Richland County Courthouse, Ripon at 303 Blackburn St. and River Falls City Hall.

Powered by Frankly