Protestors, Senate Democrats march on Capitol after bill is signed
March 16, 2011
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MADISON — The 14 Senate Democrats returned to Wisconsin Saturday joining an estimated 85,000-100,000 protestors outside the Capitol building.
Walker’s Budget Repair Bill was signed into law on Friday, resulting in the loss of bargaining rights for state workers.
The Democratic Senators took time to speak at the Capitol on Saturday to show their gratitude for the continued efforts in Madison.
State Senator Mark Miller told the crowd that the battle is not over.
“The outcome will be decided by you,” Miller said. “And we, the Democratic 14, are with you 100 percent.”
After nearly a month of protesting outside the Capitol, Evelyn Libal, a student from UW-Madison and one of the many protesters removed from the Capitol’s Antechamber on March 8, said she had “so many reasons” for continuing to protest.
“It’s about the precedent we set,” she said. “This isn’t just about Wisconsin. Other states are seeing this and know they can’t do it.”
Libal said she felt disheartened by Walker and the Republican Senate’s decision to pass the bill into law.
“This situation went from bad fiscal policy to illegal action,” she said.
While many who are unsupportive of the bill have questioned the legality of its passage, Democratic Senator Kathleen Vinehout reminded the crowd to stick together.
“Remember our power and lift up your voice,” Vinehout said. “Remember our love, the love that binds us all, the love that makes us Wisconsin — that makes us one. It’s solidarity.”
Katie Schaag, a student at UW-Madison was impressed with the turnout on Saturday.
“It’s amazing to see everyone come together as a community,” Schaag said. “I’m so proud of my fellow Wisconsinites for increasing the pressure after the ‘illegal’ passing of the bill. People are just too smart to put up with this.”
Maggie Sventek from Minneapolis was there for her second day of protesting in Madison with her husband, a member of the International Brother-hood of Teamsters labor union.
“From someone out of state, I just wish we could do more to help,” Sventek said. “We want to help prevent the same thing from trickling down and happening to us.”
Dale Enk from Cudahy, Wis. works for the U.S. Postal Service and said he was impressed with the actions of the Senate Democrats.
“They had a lot of courage and a lot of stamina in order to stand up and really open up discussion about what Walker is doing,” he said. “They’ve allowed the people of Wisconsin and America to really wake up to the fact that the Republicans are in bed with Corporate America and will do anything to undermine the working men and women of
A popular mantra with the protestors — “This is what democracy looks like” — filled the air, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson led the crowd in a chant of “come alive, dignified.”
As the day wore on, emotion ran high throughout the crowd.
“Together, we will get our rights back,” Senator Miller said. “You’ve helped inspire millions of people across the nation to say ‘enough is enough.’”