Pro-democracy, pro-worker rallies were held in all 50 states on Saturday. People were protesting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s move to take away collective bargaining rights from public employees (at least those in unions that did not support Walker’s election campaign). More generally, people were protesting the Republican War on Workers.
Here in Washington a rally was held in Olympia where
…several thousand union workers faced off with hundreds of tea party enthusiasts in competing rallies.
King 5 has a gallery of photos of today’s event in Olympia.
The main even in Madison, Wisconsin drew, perhaps, 125,000 people—seemingly the largest protest ever in a city known for big protests. (FWIW, the Madison police provide an estimate of from 70,000 to 100,000 protesters.)
Even police officers joined the protesters in a remarkable show of solidarity:
“Hundreds of cops have just marched into the Wisconsin state capitol building to protest the anti-Union bill, to massive applause. They now join up to 600 people who are inside.”
“Police [...] announced to the crowds inside the occupied State Capitol of Wisconsin: ‘We have been ordered by the legislature to kick you all out at 4:00 today. But we know what’s right from wrong. We will not be kicking anyone out, in fact, we will be sleeping here with you!’
Here is the video:
And even though the right wing lunatics will claim that all those protesters in Wisconsin were bussed in by George Soros with help from ACORN and Van Jones, there were, apparently, enough people left behind to put together an impressive number of rallies all over the U.S.
Here are some estimates from the numerous other locations that I was able to find Saturday evening using The Google:
- In Albany, NY “500 people and representatives of at least 50 unions” rallied.
- Asheville, NC, “[a]bout 250 people from all over Western North Carolina” protested. No word from the Asheville teabaggers.
- Augusta, ME, protesters braved “frigid temperatures [to demonstrate] for worker rights.”
- Austin had several hundred demonstrators.
- In Baltimore, “3,000 people have already made commitments to rally at Lawyers Mall”.
- In Boise, ID, “[c]lose to 400 union supporters converged on the Idaho Statehouse”.
- Boston had “about 1,000″ protesters that
…forced a Beacon Street shutdown, amassing in front of an empty Massachusetts State House to denounce an attempt by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker to nix most collective bargaining power for public sector unions.
- Burlington, VT saw a small protest.
- Chicago had 1000 protesters.
- In Columbia, South Carolina there were “150/160 people there at the start” and “10/15 counter protesters”.
- Columbus, OH, saw several thousand protesters.
- In Denver 1000 pro-union protesters faced off against 150 teabaggers.
- In Frankfurt, KY, “Several hundred workers from across Kentucky held a boisterous rally on the steps of the state Capitol”.
- In Jefferson City, MO, the protests “attracted several hundred Missourians”.
- Harrisburg, PA “Several hundred laborers converged on the Capitol steps at noon to stand in solidarity with their union brethren in Wisconsin”.
- In Honolulu, “[p]ro-choice supporters teamed up with union backers at a joint rally at the State Capitol Saturday”.
- Jackson, Mississippi had a rally.
- In Jefferson City, MO a couple hundred showed up.
- In Juneau, AK, perhaps 100 souls braved the weather to protest.
- In Lancaster, Ohio, “[s]everal hundred gathered Saturday in a park in the small, working-class city”.
- Lansing, MI saw “[s]ome 2,000 union members and supporters from across Michigan [rally] at the state Capitol building”.
- Lincoln, NE had a rally with 350 labor supporters.
- Los Angeles saw 2000.
- Miami had 100 demonstrators.
- Montpelier, VT, “few hundred people”.
- Nashville saw“at least 200 people” turn out.
- New York City’s rally saw “several thousand” protesters.
- In North Carolina “several hundred people showed up Saturday at a rally in Raleigh”.
- In Oklahoma City (!) there were, perhaps, 500 people protesting.
- Pheonix sees “a few hundred” protesters.
- Portsmouth, NH “[m]ore than 500 electricians, firefighters, steel workers, teachers, nurses and others turned out in Market Square”.
- In Providence, RI “about 800 people attended the rally”.
- Raleigh, NC had “a few hundred people [...] there to support the unions” and “about 100″ counter-protesters.
- In Richmond, VA 300 protesters filled Capitol Square.
- Sacramento “drew approximately 400 people” and about “150 counter-demonstrators”.
- In Salem, OR, “[a]bout a thousand pro-union ralliers” marched to the capitol steps.
- Santa Fe saw “‘several thousand’ by one reader’s estimation”.
- It looks like St. Paul had a couple hundred souls brave the weather.
- In Springfield, IL, Capitol police estimated the crowd to be between 500 to 700 people.
- In Topeka, KS, [a]t least 500 people participated in the event, though organizers put the count at 1,200.
- In Trenton, NJ, the demonstration“drew a crowd of about 3,100″.
- Washington, D.C. saw “perhaps 1000 people” fill Dupont Circle. (WaPo has the same estimate.)
Here is a nice collection of photos from protests around the country.
As I mentioned previously, Walker may well get his way in Wisconsin. But he will pay dearly for it in Wisconsin.
A recent USA Today/Gallup poll shows that “61% would oppose a law in their state similar to such a proposal in Wisconsin, compared with 33% who would favor such a law.” If Republicans in other states join in on Walker’s War on Workers, the damage will certainly spread to them.
Update: As Dave points out, I missed Spokane. I’ll include an addenda. Leave a comment if you find news of another demonstration from the weekend:
- In Spokane…“About 200 people gathered” to support union workers.
Update: Fifty more photos.