by Maddy Hughes
MADISON, Wis.--Thousands of protesters have gathered and remained at the state capitol since Feb. 12 in an effort to block a new plan from Governor Scott Walker to break apart unions and cut rights for public workers.
Class has been out for the past week, as students are permitted to join the protests, since the teachers themselves would be affected by the legislation if it passed. The students and many others have lodged inside the capitol building, staying overnight in sleeping bags and making music with chants against the Republican governor.
Jesse Jackson appeared in the capitol building Friday night to talk to a crowd of 40,000 about vigilance in their fight for workers' rights. He called the revolt a "Martin Luther King moment."
Tea partiers showed up Saturday, in order to demonstrate support of the much contested bill and their governor, causing police to worry about fights between the two sides and prepare for mayhem with snipers, barricades, and temporary fences. But their precautions were proved unnecessary as the tea partiers and opponents of the bill were peaceful in their demonstrations.
Senate Democrats left the state last week, making it impossible for the bill to be passed (or voted on) because they lacked quorum. The Senate voted Friday to allow Governor Walker another week to release his state budget plan.