After roughly three weeks out of the state in an effort to stall Gov. Scott Walker's "budget repair bill," the 14 Democratic state senators plan to attend a rally this weekend in Madison to thank protesters.More >>
MADISON (WKOW) -- A few dozen protesters were reluctant to leave the state capitol by the 6 p.m. closing time Thursday, prompting a series of pleas by state police, and ultimately the physical removal of two demonstrators.
Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs was in the rotunda for at least half an hour before 6, talking to protesters one by one. Police played a message over the capitol's intercom system, reminding demonstrators of the deadline.
But when the clock struck 6, few protesters moved.
"When I arrived at the capitol [Thursday morning], I found this beautiful building locked," said demonstrator Mark Taylor, who drove from Genoa to discover the building was closed until 11 a.m.
Officials kept the building closed because some protesters had stayed overnight.
Taylor and others wanted officials to promise that the building would be open as scheduled at 8 a.m Friday.
"I want to hear public officials be accountable, stand up and say what they're going to do," he said.
At about 6:20, Tubbs grabbed a megaphone and announced the building would reopen at 8 a.m. if protesters agreed to leave.
"It's a promise," he told the crowd. "My word is my bond."
Most protesters began to clear out, but two women stayed behind, sitting on the floor of the rotunda and refusing to leave.
Tubbs spoke with the women for several minutes, imploring them to clear out on their own, but they declined.
Several state troopers picked up each woman and escorted them out the door. They were not cited or arrested.
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