|3 of our brothers in Madison|
The AFL-CIO has issued a statement:
MADISON— Continuing his unprecedented power grab Governor Walker ordered the State Capitol cleared on Sunday, closing the building to Wisconsinites protesting his plan to gut civil rights for tens of thousands of Wisconsin's citizens. Dozens of ministers, rabbis, and priests joined workers and students from across the state, risking arrest to protest the closing of the State Capitol to the public.
“First Governor Walker tried to take away workers’ rights, now he is trying to take away our Constitutional right as Americans to peacefully assemble,” said Steelworker Roy Vandenberg. “I have a message for Governor Walker, your plan to silence us won't work. We are not going away, and we will not be silenced.”
“This is a critical moment for Wisconsin and for so many states,” said Rev. Leah Lonsbury of Memorial United Church of Christ.
“Clearly, this is about far more than a budget. It's a moral issue, and the rights at stake here are so basic to our common good and our common humanity, to the very idea of justice, that we are willing to risk arrest to protect them and have our voices be heard. Our faith calls us to stand with the vulnerable and speak truth to power. This is what we are called to do.”
Wisconsinites from all walks of life—nurses, firefighters, snowplow drivers, police officers, students, teachers, and others—have been in the State Capitol building for 14 days. During that time, they set up an elaborate community called “Capitol City” to keep the capitol building clean, protesters safe and fed, and most importantly to keep up pressure on Governor Walker to come to the table and open up a dialogue to get Wisconsin moving forward again.
“Law enforcement working at the Capitol has been impressed with how peaceful and courteous everyone has been,” said Wisconsin Professional Police Association Executive Director Jim Palmer. “As has been reported in the media, the protesters are cleaning up after themselves and have not caused any problems. The fact of that matter is that Wisconsin’s law enforcement community opposes Governor Walker’s effort to eliminate collective bargaining in this state, and we implore him to not do anything to increase the risk to officers or the public. Security cannot come at the cost of conflict.”
“The police have been our allies throughout this struggle and we commend them for their professionalism and for joining us on the line during this crisis. Scott Walker hoped to drive a wedge between Wisconsin’s workers and the police. He failed,” said Peter Rickman, a student at University of Wisconsin, Madison.