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5,000 rally at Capitol

by: Eric B.

Wed Mar 16, 2011 at 13:51:25 PM EDT


Robert King opened the first segment, and Gretchen Whitmer announced a drive to enshrine collective batrgaining rights in the state constitution, as 5,000 people from around Michigan chanted, waved signs, and announced opposition to the governor's proposed budget plans. Shortly after the planned program -- which also included short speeches from Gilda Jacobs (Michigan League of Human Services), Cyndi Roper (Clean Water Action), and David Hecker (AFT) -- protesters flooded into the Capitol building.

A second segment is set to commence at 2 p.m., and a third at 4:30 p.m.

The protest is by far the largest in two days of protests at the Capitol building. A protest organized against the pension tax by AARP Tuesday morning brought approximately 1,200 to the Capitol, followed by a small group who stood at the corner of Capitol and Michigan in the afternoon. Two small, separate groups of protesters occupied the Rotunda Tuesday evening, one led by Lance Enderle and the other led by no one but featuring as the loudest among them a guy wearing a construction helmet. Enderle's group left shortly after being asked to. The other group left after being given an deadline of 10 minutes and an ultimatum to leave by it or face arrest. 

Eric B. :: 5,000 rally at Capitol
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Huge (4.00 / 1)
I was downtown about 1:00 for other business, and this is easily the largest protest I've seen at the capitol in years.  It's far bigger than the tea party protests of last year, and looks to be even bigger than the counter demonstration to the neo-Nazi rally a few years back.

Arrests (0.00 / 0)
The Detroit dailies are reporting that there have been 11 arrests inside the capitol due to the attempt at occupation.

What terrible coverage (0.00 / 0)
Yesterday's total participation was probably between 6,000-7,000 people (by the afternoon, most of the UAW and Buildings Trades folks had been replaced by school workers and the MEA, and there were a couple hundred college kids who took over the Rotunda), and they announce plans to push for a constitutional amendment for collective bargaining, and the lead of the story is that a bunch of attention seekers got arrested?

Among the Trees

[ Parent ]
No (0.00 / 0)
It wasn't the lead story, but it was the last story of the day.  Needless to say, I was pretty impressed by the coverage.  The Freep eventually upped their estimate to 5,000, but since it's a estimate and work-in-progress they did a rather good job of covering it.

The arrests are definitely newsworthy, though, in my opinion.  They show that Snyder is not above using the MSP, and that the capitol director is a real hard-ass.  The last guy passed a way a few years back, and he was really friendly and interested in showing off the building.  I've emailed the current one about something, once, and he was very terse and kind of rude in his reply.

Anyway, I'm hoping that eventually we can get an even bigger and more organized rally (you know, maybe one with vendors and such).  Maybe, I'll be down there one of these days.


[ Parent ]
Yep (4.00 / 1)
Told you the guy running the capitol was a dick.  From the LSJ, today:

The American Civil Liberties Union says the agency that oversees the state Capitol has been unfairly enforcing a ban on protest signs inside the building.

The enforcement started right around the time protests erupted over Gov. Rick Snyder's recent proposals to tax pensions and expand the powers of state-appointed emergency financial managers, said Michael Steinberg, legal director of the ACLU of Michigan.

Previously - despite a written policy banning all signs - handheld signs were allowed inside the Capitol, officials said.

"It's a fact that the rules were not enforced until there were large protests against Gov. Snyder's policies," Steinberg said Thursday. "It's a fundamental democratic principle that the government can't pick and choose when to enforce rules regarding speech.

"They're picking and choosing when to enforce the ban on hand-carried signs."

The ACLU of Michigan sent a letter Thursday to the nonpartisan Legislative Council Facilities Agency, saying there have been numerous complaints and that the ban raises "serious constitutional concerns."

Steve Benkovsky, the agency's director, said he is simply enforcing a ban that has been in place since the 1990s.

"We're not letting any signs in here, as it says in our regulations," Benkovsky said.

...

This guy has been on a total power-trip since he took over.  That's the peoples' house, not his or his agency's personal castle.


[ Parent ]
We need to create the political space for an amendment and recalls (0.00 / 0)
WI has the political space for recalls at this time.  I don't think we are there yet but it is growing rapidly.  With the rallies growing organically it is helping create the political space for constitutional amendments and recall election her in MI However, we can't wait for the Senate Dems, or the unions, or certain unions or MI liberal.  We need improved leadership from Mark Brewer and OFA and the unions to articulate both a strategy, MI vision, timeline and pathway to accomplish specific political goals that can be converted to economic goals.
The conservatives successfully completed thier political goals last year and are now implementing their economic goals.  They are implementing a plan.  We must do the same.  There are millions of untapped MI voters waiting for leadership.


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