Some protesters feel civil disobedience is the only way - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Some protesters feel civil disobedience is the only way


MADISON (WKOW) -- Lawmakers will head back to the floor Wednesday and protesters will most certainly play a role in one way or another. For the most part the protests have been very peaceful with no problems, but lately there have been disruptions most notably the Joint Finance meeting last week but not everyone is agreeing with their methods of protest.

Protesters with the same goal using different strategies to get their message across. Beverly Killian is a retired teacher from Fort Atkinson who has been out walking around the Capitol with her sign just about every day.

Then there are the singers in the rotunda. Every week day from noon to one they sing their message to anyone that's listening.

Sen. Tim Cullen stopped on the first floor to listen Tuesday. He says, "I love the singing. I go down and listen to it lots of days. It's beautiful, it's peaceful." But he hasn't been in support of the tactics some protesters have been using as of late.

Some protesters are turning to disrupting meetings or civil disobedience to get their message across.

Harriet Rowan, a UW student and Walkerville attendee says, "I think some people feel the need to participate in civil disobedience because they feel they have no other option."

Last week an immigrant rights group from Milwaukee organized a disruption at a Joint Finance meeting. Protesters interrupting the meeting only to get carried out one by one.

Defending Wisconsin Executive Director Jeremy Ryan says, "Their tuition rates were about to raise like 10 times and so they were very upset, they felt they didn't have a chance to speak, they didn't have a voice, so they prepared a clear and concise message and all they wanted to do was read it to legislators. They didn't get a chance to read the full things, so it turned into a disruption."

Jeremy Ryan, known around the Capitol as "segway guy", has been very active in the demonstrations and disruptions over the past several months.

Ryan says, "Civil disobedience has changed a lot of things in history, civil rights movements, everything, so there's a very important place for it here at the Capitol."

But the disruptions aren't sitting well with some democrats and other protesters. Beverly says, "It does bother me because then everyone will think everyone is doing this kind of thing and we aren't."

Sen. Cullen says, "To have disruptions forces you folks to cover the disruptions rather than cover the substance of the budget., that's why I don't think it helps."

Ryan and Rowan say they plan to continue civil disobedience into this session that starts Wednesday. Rowan said the purpose of civil disobedience is to make people feel uncomfortable and they truly believe this is the way to get their message across.

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