Capitol Closure Conflict Looms in Wisconsin; Solidarity Rallies in 50 States Held Saturday
UPDATE 9pm: No arrests are occurring tonight at the Capitol in Madison but police say they will evaluate the situation on a nightly basis. The crowd is thinning out, but hundreds still remain. In other news, one Republican State Senator has announced his opposition to Scott Walker's bill, bringing the number of new Republican no votes now needed to 2. Read more at Fight Back! News or via our Twitter list.
UPDATE 6pm: Multiple reports from Madison media quote police, city officials as saying remaining protesters inside the Capitol can stay the night without arrest.
UPDATE 5pm: Police have cleared the ground floor of the Capitol in Madison but are currently allowing protesters to congregate on the 1st floor. Over 1,000 remain inside; thousands more are outside the building.
A showdown looms in Madison later this afternoon at 4pm, the time when Governor Scott Walker and his officials intend to close the Capitol building--the site of massive pro-labor protests over the past two weeks. Many protesters say they will intend to stay inside, where they were recently joined overnight by police union members. It's unclear whether the police will follow Walker's orders, with the result possibly depending on the number of protesters who remain inside ready to be arrested.
Meanwhile Saturday, MoveOn.org held rallies in every state, including a rally at the Minnesota State Capitol in St. Paul. Despite temperatures hovering just above zero degrees, approximately 2,000 people gathered on the Capitol lawn surrounded by recently plowed snowbanks. An independently organized rally has been called for Monday at 4pm at the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis.
Last Thursday saw the biggest day of protests ever held in Wisconsin outside of Madison, with at least 26 rallies recorded in 18 cities. 500 people also rallied in Duluth, MN (photo). On Saturday in Madison, many estimated the crowd at over 100,000.
For up to the minute news from Wisconsin, follow the activists and reporters on our twitter list: http://twitter.com/tcimcfeatures/solidaritywi
Recent open published reports at TCIMC: WI Unions Vote to Prepare General Strike--The Time to Act is Now | San Francisco Solidarity Rally | Audio: From Wisconsin to Oregon, Egypt to Palestine, Solidarity Everywhere! | Fight Back! News: Thousands Rally in St. Paul to Support Wisconsin Workers | TC Daily Planet: Seeing Madison--February 26 Protests | Video: Singing "This Land is Your Land" in at the MN Capitol | The Uptake: Capitol to Close at 4pm Today--Protesters Plan to Stay (Video) | Dane101.com: TAA and other organizers plan to continue Capitol occupation | WeAreWisconsin.org | DefendWisconsin.org