MADISON, Wis. — The largest crowd yet descended on Wisconsin’s Capitol on Saturday to protest cuts to public worker collective bargaining rights a day after Gov. Scott Walker signed the measure into law.
Protests have rocked the Capitol almost every day since Walker unveiled his proposal. But Madison Police estimate Saturday’s crowd as the largest, at 85,000 to 100,000 by late afternoon. Demonstrators say they’re undeterred after lawmakers passed the legislation this week and Walker to put his signature on it Friday.
The 14 Democratic state senators who fled Wisconsin last month to try to derail the legislation returned to the state Saturday and joined the raucous protesters.
Throngs of protesters gathered Saturday outside a convention center where 13 of the senators made their first public appearance in Madison since ending their self-imposed exile, yelling “Fab 14, our heroes!”
Before marching around the Capitol with demonstrators, Senator Spencer Coggs of Milwaukee said Walker had forced Republicans into “walking the plank” by passing the law. He and the others said they also planned to shift their energies toward recall efforts already under way against eight GOP colleagues. Some of the Democrats also are facing recall efforts.