NOLSW member Donn Linn and his wife Laurie were in the Wisconsin capitol during many of the protests in support of the Wisconsin public workers. Below is their account of what happened in Madison.
March 1, 2011
Yipes, it's hard keeping all these days straight. Sunday, February 27, 2011 was to be the last day the Capitol would be open, as it had to be closed for "cleaning". As the day went on, they were becoming more and more restrictive. By Saturday they were limiting access, and by Sunday you could only enter at one door, and there was a long line to get in. They had publicized that they were closing @ 4:00 p.m. and that anyone who refused to leave would be ticketed and/or removed. A group refused to go but were not hauled away or arrested as had been anticipated.
On Monday, February 28, 2011, however, nobody was allowed into the statehouse without a senator or assembly member escorting on official business. The plan, it seems is to keep people out in the cold, where it will be much more difficult to more comfortably protest, and that the media attention will die out and eventually things will peter out. Little did Walker know! Some folks slept outside on the Capitol steps last night. Organizers may be checking into permitting for people to camp out on the Capitol grounds, although the grassy areas are slush and ice and mud and muck, so it would be a challenge unless you could set up in the areas near the building where there is flat and level, albeit very hard surfaces.
March 2, 2011:
It was a relatively quiet day at the Capitol, especially after the large gathering yesterday. I think many folks were stunned by and trying to absorb the genocidal budget proposal Walker made yesterday. It basically is stripping government down to proportions unseen, no shit. Go the TheWheelerReport.com if you want to see its girth. Education slashed a billion, Medicaid and Badgercare ripped through and whittled down; just to name a few. One of the most astonishing is to eliminate the need for towns and municipalities to test their water for contaminants. Unreal but all too real.
The injunction hearing on locking Wisconsin citizens out of the Capitol went on throughout the day. I went to the Courthouse and watched a bit of it; interesting. At least the governor didn't have any way to keep the doors locked there. It continues into tomorrow, so hopefully a decision will be issued soon. It is certainly bound for appeal whichever way it goes. The Court of Appeals for our district is quite liberal so assuming they sided with the people, it could end up before our Supreme Court before the upcoming election. One of the conservative Supreme Court justice's seat is up for election, so that could play out well.
The Madison police and Dane County Deputies Associations continue to be a strong force there, along with the firefighters. There is an open mike for people to go up and speak their piece. One guy talking was calmly describing the recall process which undoubtedly will take place. The crowd was small tonight but growing. Walker's office is above one of the main areas folks have been gathering, as it is currently the only entrance open (but greatly restricted). Aides of the state assembly members escort people into the building, which is essentially the only way to get in. A tarp was set up today for people who intend to sleep for the night, since they are locked out of the building.