'Walkerville' tent city up and running - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

'Walkerville' tent city up and running


MADISON (WKOW) -- The makeshift community of protesters against Governor Scott Walker's biennium budget is up and running.

The two-week long "Walkerville" tent city began Saturday with a kickoff event at 7 pm.

"This is all part of the anger and frustration at politicians that aren't listening to working class folks from around this state," said organizer Peter Rickman.

Protesters are calling it "Walkerville" after the "Hooverville" towns set up during the Great Depression.

Overnight camping is allowed along certain streets on Capitol Square, but not on Capitol grounds.

But that anger and frustration will be bad for business, says art gallery owner John Taylor.

"They'll be a change of mood, they'll be a lack of sensitivity, there is potential for damage."

Taylor says his business and others have already been hurt by the protests earlier this year, and expects the tent city to be more of the same.

"The impact on businesses I kind of liken to the capitol lawn. This could have a stockyard effect for us, and we're already in a fragile position," he said.

Other business owners say they have no problem with the protests, at all.

The city of Madison Street Commission gave the tent city its charter Friday, granting a permit that allows tents along four blocks of the square. Most have to be taken down during the day; only three areas are permitted for 24-7 activity.

Rickman says protesters will work with area businesses to make the outdoor occupation as smooth as possible.

"Businesses aren't the target," he said. "It's politicians inside the capitol."

Capitol police announced Saturday they are limiting what can be brought inside the building.

Signs on sticks, noise makers, duct tape, tents, sleeping bags and weapons are not allowed.

Organizers are planning to stay until a budget is passed. They believe that means 17 days.

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