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Entries in Protesters (19)

Tuesday
Jan032012

Mitt Romney Gets 'Occupied' at Iowa Rally

ABC News(CLIVE, Iowa) -- For the first time since launching his presidential campaign, Mitt Romney got a visit from Occupy Wall Street protesters during a rally Monday night just outside Des Moines, Iowa.

Midway through his stump speech, Romney was interrupted by protesters shouting their rallying cry, “Mic check!”  Nearly immediately, the protesters were drowned out by cheers from the crowd of more than 500 with chants of “Mitt! Mitt! Mitt!”

One member in the crowd screamed back at the protesters, “Get a job!”

Romney, audibly laughing at the outspoken crowd member, addressed the protesters: “Thanks guys, let’s talk about the Constitution again."

But the protesters kept chanting, “Stop the war on the poor!  Stop the war on the poor!”

“Thanks guys,” Romney responded again, looking around as security escorted the individuals outside.  “Isn’t it great to live in a country where people can express their views?”

“It’s a great country,” he said.  “I love it.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec282011

'Occupiers' Plan Week of Protests Ahead of Iowa Caucuses

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- An offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street movement met Tuesday evening to organize and plan protests in Iowa’s capitol during the week leading up to the state’s caucuses next Tuesday.

About 200 people involved in the "Occupy the Caucuses" movement met in East Des Moines and split up into groups by the GOP candidates they want to “occupy” this week.  Protesters have said they will also camp out outside President Obama’s headquarters.

At the beginning of the session, protesters aired grievances that they wanted to raise at the candidates’ headquarters this week, and then attendees split into groups by candidate.  The issues included ending the war in Afghanistan, campaign finance reform and higher education and health care costs, among other topics.

David Goodner, one of the organizers of the event, said protesters will go to the candidate they have “the most beef with.”  They will return to their temporary headquarters in East Des Moines every morning at 10 a.m. before they head out to sit outside the offices.

And, as Goodner explained, it’s not just candidates’ office that will be targeted: “It could be blockading the doors at Wells Fargo to try to shut down the largest mortgage lender in the country who has their headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa.  It’s really up to the people in this room to decide what form their protest will take, but those are … some of the tactics that are on the table.”

"Occupy the Caucuses," however, has pledged to be non-violent and not to disrupt the actual caucuses that are one week away.  At the end of the event, which drew young and old and was titled the "People’s Caucus," the crowd made a verbal pledge to stay nonviolent, although Goodner added they may target campaign parties in Des Moines on caucus night.

“We’re not going to interfere or interrupt the caucuses because our targets are Wall Street, big corporations, and the politicians that carry the water for them -- not every day voters,” Goodner said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Dec212011

Gingrich Ambushed by Protesters

Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) –- Protesters ambushed Newt Gingrich in the middle of the former Speaker’s speech Wednesday in Iowa in an attempt to have their message about big corporations heard.

The event featured two top Iowa and New Hampshire legislators who had come together to the state capitol in Des Moines, Iowa, to throw their support behind Gingrich. The small room in the capitol was filled with press and only had room for four or five citizens, all of whom, it turned out, were protesters.

As Gingrich stepped up the mic to speak, one man leapt from his chair toward Gingrich, and was able to get very close to Gingrich before the demonstrator was pushed toward the wall by Gingrich’s security team, knocking over the American flag behind them. He was escorted out with force immediately.

The other three stood up from their chairs, gathered behind Gingrich and chanted “Put people first!” before they were also escorted from the room.

Gingrich remained calm and collected during the protest, as he glanced at his wife, Callista and she shook her head in amazement. Gingrich told the press in the room that after campaigning in Iowa he knows the protesters are the “One-tenth of the one percent in Iowa.”

Several of the protesters told ABC News they were not satisfied by their encounter with Gingrich and thought maybe “a million dollars would buy 10 minutes of his time.” The group was a mix of Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement and Occupy Des Moines.

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Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov162011

White House: Cities Should Determine How to Handle Occupy Protests

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Following the police raid on Occupy Wall Street protesters in New York, the White House said it’s up to each city to determine how to handle the demonstrations.

“The President’s position is that obviously every municipality has to make its own decisions about how to handle these issues,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters aboard Air Force One.

Carney said the President was “aware” from reports that protesters had been evicted early Tuesday morning from Zuccotti Park, where they had camped out for weeks.

“We would hope and want, as these decisions are made, that it balances between a long tradition of freedom of assembly and freedom of speech in this country, and obviously of demonstrating and protesting, and also the very important need to maintain law and order and health and safety standards, which was obviously a concern in this case,” Carney said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov162011

Protesters Hit Office of Romney's Senior Iowa Advisor

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- Mitt Romney’s Iowa state director David Kochel was visited by a group of protesters Tuesday, according to the Des Moines Register.

Kochel told the Register, “We don’t have a campaign headquarters, so basically what they did was trespass at my private business. They handed a letter to someone. I have not looked at it.”

Police responded quickly and there was not much of an incident.

Fellow Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain’s Urbandale campaign headquarters was also invaded earlier in the day.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar162011

Protesters Stream Through DC to Protest Wisconsin GOP Fundraiser

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Image(WASHINGTON) -- Taking the fight from the statehouse in Madison to the nation’s capital, protesters shut down major streets in downtown Washington, D.C. Wednesday afternoon as they marched to the White House in protest of a fundraiser for Wisconsin GOP legislators.

Nearly 300 protesters, including Wisconsinites and union members from elsewhere, took to the streets in opposition to a fundraiser hosted by BGR Group, a Washington, D.C. lobbying firm founded by Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour.

Organized by the Wisconsin Republican Party, the $1,000-a-head fundraiser was expected to draw 60 to 70 people from Wisconsin, including Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald.

Bob Wood, president of BGR Group, told ABC News the fundraiser was in the works for months and has been held annually for the past seven years.

But protester Jonathan Backer, from Kenosha, Wisconsin, saw the fundraiser as a political ploy to inject corporate power into government.

“It’s such a good representation of what’s wrong with our democracy right now.  There’s so much corporate power in our democracy where literally seconds after one of the worst anti-labor decisions that’s ever happened in the Midwest, you’ve got a big fundraiser going on here, right here in D.C.,” Backer told ABC News.  “What we’re doing here is all about trying to fight for unions so there is a way to combat this corporate power going on in democracy right now.”

The protesters created a traffic jam in downtown Washington, D.C. as they shut down streets while marching to the White House.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 

Monday
Mar142011

Wisconsin Protesters to Take Fight to the Polls

ABC News Radio(MADISON, Wis.) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has won the battle with unions in his state by stripping most of their collective bargaining rights in what he claimed was an effort to reduce the budget deficit.

But state and local workers maintain that the war with Walker and the Republicans who voted for his measure is far from over.

Critics say the real goal of the GOP is to weaken Democrats in 2012, who traditionally receive backing from unions.  If that's true, the strategy may have backfired.

Democrats in Wisconsin now say they'll turn every local election into a referendum on Walker's governing and those who support him.

With other Republican governors taking the lead from Walker, hoping to dismantle unions and in turn leaving Democrats without a major backer, the Democratic Party is now determined to fight the battle to preserve the rights of government workers in every red state.

The test of union anger in Wisconsin will come as early as April 5, when voters go the polls to elect a new Supreme Court justice who may hear challenges to the new law.  On the same day, voters will also pick a new Milwaukee County executive, which was Walker's job before he became governor.

Next summer, as many as 16 senators could face recall and they're split evenly between Republicans and Democrats.  The GOP would have to lose three seats to lose control of the state Senate chamber.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Mar112011

Wisconsin Governor Ready to Sign Union-Busting Bill

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(MADISON, Wisc.) -- It's all over in Wisconsin, but the shouting is expected to go on for quite a while after the Republican-controlled Legislature passed a bill that strips the state's 175,000 workers of most of their collective bargaining rights.

The measure is a huge victory for Gov. Scott Walker, who said it was necessary so that Wisconsin could put the state's fiscal house in order.  The state faces a $137 million budget shortfall that Walker says will grow to $3.6 billion in a few years without major concessions from the unions.

Critics say Walker was only playing politics and that his real motivation was weakening unions in order to weaken the Democratic Party.  Several states, including Ohio, are moving ahead with similar proposals that target the labor rights of public employees.

Walker is poised to sign the bill after the state's Assembly Thursday passed the measure 53 to 42, with no support from Democrats.  Pro-union supporters in the gallery screamed "Shame! Shame! Shame!" as GOP lawmakers exited the chamber.  Earlier, about 20 protesters were removed by police so that the Assembly members could debate the bill and cast a vote.

The Assembly's vote came a day after Senate Republicans stripped the financial provisions from the controversial bill, which enabled them to pass it without the necessary quorum.

Fourteen Democrats fled to Illinois three weeks ago to prevent a vote from taking place.  However, Senate Republicans got around their absence Wednesday with the procedural move.

The bill passed by Republicans ends collective bargaining on health benefits, pensions, hours, overtime, vacation, work schedules and sick leave or family leave, rights state and local workers have had for 50 years.  Workers can now only bargain for wage increases so long as they don't exceed the rate of inflation.

The unions had already agreed to a key concession by offering to pay more into their pensions and health plans.

Police and firefighters, who supported Walker's run for governor last fall, are exempt from the new rules.

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

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