City will take up Walkerville permit Friday - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

City will take up Walkerville permit Friday


MADISON (WKOW) -- The Capitol is quiet and the streets are clear, but a planned protest could change that for weeks. Protesters want to camp outside across from the Capitol and city leaders are ready to approve the necessary permit.

For restaurants around the square, the February and March protests were great for business but retail stores say it was devastating and they can't take another hit.

John Taylor is the owner of J Taylors antiques on North Carroll Street, right across from the Capitol. His building was in the heart of the protests back in February and March and he says it was a disaster for business.

Taylor says, "How long can people survive without business. Everyone wants to talk about jobs, everyone wants to talk about Walker's not fair, well this is not fair."

Friday morning, the city streets commission will take up what people are calling "Walkerville."

The group, We are Wisconsin has asked to put up tents across from the Capitol in protest of Governor Scott Walker's two year budget.

The demonstrations could potentially allow for a 24-hour continuous protest that would last for more than two weeks. Mayor Soglin says, "After a hundred years of political protests in Madison, you think you've seen it all and there's something new going on."

The camp areas would run on the sidewalks and terraces between West Washington and Wisconsin Avenue. The specific camp area would run from Carroll Street between West Washington and State Street and Mifflin Street between State Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

Raymond Johnson's restaurant is right in the heart of the camping area on the top of State Street. He, unlike Taylor, is thrilled about the idea.

Raymond Johnson says, "I'm all for that. I'll help, I'm willing to stay open later for them."

Mayor Soglin says the decision is about balancing what's best for businesses and the right to free speech. He says the protesters will likely get their permit, but specific rules and regulations as to exactly where they can set up and if they can camp all day are still up in the air.

Soglin says, "Some things we don't have answers to, this is one of them. We wait and see, we learn as we go along."

The organizers say, if they need to compromise, they're willing to work with the city. All of those details regarding the permit will be discussed Friday morning at a special city streets commission.

The rally permit starts Saturday and goes through June 20.

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