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Entries in Demonstrations (6)

Thursday
Mar102011

More Protests Planned in Wisconsin After Senate Approves Bill

ABC News Radio(MADISON, Wisc.) -- Not long after Republican members of the Wisconsin State Senate used creative parliamentary tactics to push through a bill that would strip most collective bargaining rights from public employees, Democratic legislators, unions, and progressive groups were already vowing revenge.

"In thirty minutes, 18 State Senators undid fifty years of civil rights in Wisconsin," Senate Democratic Leader Mark Miller said in a statement Wednesday. "Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten. Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people.  Tomorrow we will join the people of Wisconsin in taking back their government."

Miller was one of 14 Democratic legislators who had been hiding out in Illinois during the weeks-long stalemate between Republican Gov. Scott Walker and his opponents -- a coalition of Democrats and organized labor. Overnight thousands of protesters stormed the Wisconsin state capitol, as ABC News reported, and more demonstrations are planned across the state later Thursday.

Wednesday night, by an 18-1 vote, Senate Republicans managed to find a way around the need for a quorum of 20 senators and passed the bill Walker had sought by stripping the collective bargaining provisions from the governor's "budget-repair bill."

The bill "removes fiscal elements of the proposal" but also "increases employee payments in pension and health benefits.  The changes would amount to an approximate eight percent pay cut for public workers," according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The State Assembly will meet Thursday morning to vote on the bill.  If the assembly passes it, it moves to the governor's desk.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar042011

Wisconsin Protesters Vacate Capital After Judge's Orders

ABC News Radio(MADISON, Wis.) -- Pro-union protesters in Wisconsin left the state Capitol in Madison Thursday night for the first time in over two weeks after a judge ordered them to vacate the building.

Judge John Albert in Dane County, Wisconsin ruled that people are allowed to attend hearings at the Capitol and enter the building during normal business hours, but not to sleep there overnight when it normally is closed, according to ABC News affiliate WKOW in Madison, Wisconsin.

The judge also said the public will be allowed back inside when normal business hours resume at 8 a.m. Monday, prompting some protesters to claim a legal victory.

At least 100 protesters were in the building Thursday in opposition to proposals by Republicans that would roll back union rights for many public workers.

Republicans and Democrats are engaged in a two-week budget standoff that has paralyzed the Wisconsin state capitol and touched off a national debate on how best to deal with growing government debt.

Earlier Thursday, the state's Republican governor, Scott Walker, said layoff notices to at least 1,500 Wisconsin state workers would start going out as early as Friday if the state legislature doesn't pass a controversial "budget-repair bill" that calls for the stripping away of state employees' collective bargaining rights.

As Walker threatened layoffs, his colleagues in the state Senate filed a contempt order against 14 Democrats who fled the state and made it impossible for a new budget to pass.  Republicans hold a 19-14 majority in the body, but must have 20 members present to vote on Walker's proposal. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb262011

Wisconsin Fury Spreads As Protests Hit California, DC, New York

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Americans gathered by the thousands Saturday – from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., to New York – in a show of solidarity with their Wisconsin union counterparts whose battle against Gov. Scott Walker raged on for a 12th straight day.

Demonstrators in Wisconsin are fighting the governor’s efforts to strip them of collective bargaining rights; it was their rallying that sparked the nationwide call to action.

Union members believe that they’re under attack, faced with Republican-backed legislation in Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio and New Jersey that that would slash bargaining rights and benefits for unionized state workers.

The union firestorm in Wisconsin was front and center at Saturday’s meeting of the nation's governors in Washington, where Republican governors blamed that state's Democrats for creating the problem.

"I believe that it's despicable that we have elected officials that have left their states in order to not be on the record and do the job that they were elected for,” said Republican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer.

Nearly a dozen states are considering cutting union powers. They say they can't afford those pensions and health benefits any longer.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb042011

Adm. Mullen 'Cautions Against' Stopping Aid to Egypt

Photo Courtesy - Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The president’s top military advisor said the U.S. should wait before taking action and suspending any of the $1.5 billion in annual aid to Egypt if President Mubarak does not step down.

“There is a lot of uncertainty out there and I would just caution against doing anything until we really understand what’s going on,” Admiral Mike Mullen told ABC News on Friday.  “I recognize that certainly is a significant investment, but it’s an investment that has paid off for a long, long time.”

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been in contact with his counterpart in Egypt who assured him that the military would remain neutral and not fire on the Egyptian people.

Regarding Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's remarks that chaos would ensue if he left office immediately, Mullen said it is too early to tell how the country would react.

“That’s why an orderly, and in accordance with what the Egyptian people want here in terms of the transition.  Our president has made it very clear that he would like to see that move reasonably quickly,” Mullen said.  “But at the same time this is really up to the Egyptian people and the Egyptian government.”

As protests are being seen in Jordan and Yemen, Mullen said U.S. forces are in a state of increased awareness but have not raised the alert or threat levels.

“We are obviously very focused on this throughout the region.  One of the things is it is moving pretty quickly…and we have plenty of military presence throughout the region as well,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb032011

Should US Suspend Aid to Egypt? 'All Options' on Table, McCain Says

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The day after Egypt's deadly clashes, Sen. John McCain again called for President Mubarak to step down and said all options should be on the table if he doesn’t, including cutting off $1.5 billion worth of U.S. aid.

“I think we should have to obviously have all the options at hand.  Obviously you don’t want to threaten something unless you are fully prepared to take that action,” McCain said Thursday.

Mubarak announced on Tuesday that he would not run for reelection in September.  But that is not soon enough for thousands of protesters -- and McCain.

“The time has come for him to arrange for a transition that has the army, pro-democracy elements and others in a transition government so we can have a free and fair and open election,” he told ABC News.  “The best opportunity for a pro-democracy government and not a radical Islamic government is an open and transparent process.”

The Egyptian military was right to step in Thursday morning, McCain said.  He fears if the chaos continues “radical elements” could hijack the government and follow in the footsteps of Lebanon and Gaza.

“Sooner or later the lid blows off.  That I think is the most likely scenario for radical Islamic governments to take place.  I believe the people of Egypt are the most cultured, sophisticated group of people probably in the whole Middle East.  It is the center of the Middle East and I have some confidence that a free and fair and transparent election we could respect the outcome,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb032011

White House Condemns Latest Violence in Egypt

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The Obama administration suggested that pro-government forces in Egypt were “thugs” after the streets of Cairo were turned into a battlefield Wednesday between those who support President Hosni Mubarak and their adversaries, who are demanding the leader’s immediate ouster.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs called on both sides to quickly end the violence, which came one day after Mubarak announced that he would not seek reelection in September.  However, Mubarak did not give an indication when he would step down.

Gibbs admitted that the turmoil that has enveloped Egypt since anti-government demonstrations began over a week ago “is not all going to be wrapped up in a matter of hours.  It's going to take some time.”

While Gibbs did not overtly suggest who was at fault for the fights in Tahrir Square, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said the attacks were perpetuated by thugs that others have identified as “supporters of the government.”

There are suspicions that it was loyalists inside Mubarak’s inner circle who gave Mubarak supporters the green light to create havoc, even as a majority of Egyptians seem to endorse his ouster.

After Mubarak announced his decision not to seek reelection, President Obama called for an “orderly transition” that Gibbs emphasized must begin “now.”  The press secretary added that the transition process “must include opposition voices and parties being involved in this process as we move toward free and fair elections.”

Meanwhile, one Egyptian government official said that the White House is trying to give the impression that the U.S. was instrumental in forcing Mubarak’s hand after decades of oppression and unrelenting poverty.

The official insisted it was Mubarak’s decision to make changes, including dissolving his Cabinet and appointing Omar Suleiman the new vice president and possible successor.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio