Gov. Walker calls zombie protest at Special Olympics 'appalling' - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Gov. Walker calls 'zombie' protest at Special Olympics 'appalling'


MADISON (WKOW) -- Gov. Scott Walker called a zombie protest during a Special Olympics ceremony "appalling" Thursday.

The silent demonstration the day before took place while the Governor was speaking at a torch-lighting ceremony.

About 20 protesters complete with fake blood and realistic make-up quietly stood with their backs to the Governor, symbolizing how the governor is "turning his back on the people of Wisconsin," according to one demonstrator.

"I think it was appalling," Walker said. "Not for me, I can take it. I'm in elected office, I expect people are going to do those things directed at me, but [not] at an event that wasn't about me."

The zombie-protesters say the demonstration was impromptu. Demonstrators had really dressed up for a "die-in" in Senator Robin Vos' capitol office earlier in the day, and were not aware the Governor would be speaking outside.

State Treasurer Kurt Schuller says their appearance must have been disturbing.

"What's so distressing about it is that the protesters who stood there and made these children and adults watch will never know what [the Olympians] have gone through," he said.

Schuller's daughter has cerebral palsy and has competed in several Special Olympics events, although neither were at yesterday's ceremony.

"What really made it egregious is that they turned around and faced the people that were there to be honored."

"I don't find that problematic whatsoever," said Harriet Rowan, a Walkerville resident who was at the silent protest.

"I think what is problematic is that Scott Walker is speaking at an event for the Special Olympics while turning his back on those people in his policies."

Rowan said she and other protesters made it a point to be respectful to the Olympians, and she didn't see any who seemed bothered.

She points to published statements from Special Olympics organizers who said the demonstrations were not disruptive.

The UW student group that organized a zombie walk around the capitol and "die-in" on the steps earlier in the day said it didn't organize the demonstration inside Robin Vos' office, and issued a statement Thursday on its website saying it didn't sponsor or support the Special Olympics protest.

About a dozen zombie-clad protesters were arrested during the Vos demonstration.

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