Entries in Protests (19)


Tampa’s Mayor Tells Reporters ‘Everything Going Smoothly’

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(Tampa, Fla.) -- Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn told reporters Monday morning that things were running smoothly in his city – both from Tropical Storm Isaac and the first protests connected to the Republican National Convention.

During a morning briefing at the Tampa Convention Center, the mayor said the city was likely to get some bands of heavy winds and rain today, and said low-lying areas such as South Tampa that frequently flood in heavy rains would do so again, but that no storm surge of any significance was expected.

Buckhorn joked that the city has gotten more mentions in the media because of the tropical storm.

“I have become America’s weatherman, whether I chose to or not,” Buckhorn said.

“Traffic this morning was fine, no snarls to speak of,” Buckhorn said. “I think everyone paid attention to what we said, to make sure they give themselves ample time to get to work.”

Things might change tomorrow, he said, when 400 buses are put to use transporting Republican delegates streaming into downtown along with regular traffic.

Buckhorn said the city was ready for the first significant RNC protest, which was scheduled for Monday morning.

The mayor said his officers are out patrolling the streets looking for anarchic graffiti.

“There will be folks here that are interested in causing problems,” said Buckhorn, adding they are interested in destroying property and injuring law enforcement personnel, “and I’m not going to allow that to happen.”

Buckhorn said he did not know if the inclement weather would play a role in the size of Monday’s protests.

He also warned protesters and visitors alike that when the weather returns to normal, staying hydrated in the heat is vital.

“When it warms up and the sun comes out … there will be a lot of humidity. It will be oppressive. Folks who are out there on the street need to stay hydrated.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Protest Greets Mitt Romney at Hamptons Fundraiser

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y.) -- After a week vacationing in New Hampshire, Mitt Romney headed back to the fundraising circuit on Sunday, appearing with his wife Ann at three private residences in the Hamptons.

One of the high-dollar events was held at the shorefront estate of billionaire David Koch, whose Southampton, N.Y., compound was tightly secured in part because of roughly 150 protesters in the area.  Members of Occupy Wall Street and made up those protesting, shouting and holding signs illustrating their anger towards “money in politics.”

David Segal with the Long Island Progressive Coalition said his group isn’t worried about who’s running for president.  

“What bothers me,” he said as a black stretch-limo drove by, “is that people like David Koch are buying our politicians.”

The Koch fundraiser cost $50,000 a person to attend; $75,000 per couple.  One of the protesters on an adjacent street to the property held a sign that read “Your $50,000 ticket = My yearly salary.”

As a $400,000 dollar Rolls Royce passed the barricaded crowd, they decided to take their message to the beach -- which also serves as the backyard of Koch’s home.  As protesters gathered and sang  "The Star-Spangled Banner," the Secret Service stood atop a sand dune at the edge of the property and looked on.  The beach is public property and no arrests were made.

The New York Times reported Romney was expected to raise over $3 million during the Hamptons swing, which began in East Hampton at the 75-acre estate of Revlon chairman Ron Perelman.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was a special guest at the fundraiser, which cost between $5,000 and $25,000 to attend.  

The third event took place in Southampton as well, on the same street as the Koch’s home.

Although the protesters only got a glimpse of Romney as his motorcade entered and exited the closed Southampton street, they regarded the protest as a success, saying it was an opportunity to take their message to those responsible.

Romney’s fundraising blitz continues on Monday with a private event in Aspen, Colo.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


'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


House Majority Leader Eric Cantor Calls Wall St. Protests ‘Growing Mobs’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Majority Leader Eric Cantor Friday described the Occupy Wall Street protesters as “growing mobs,” in some of the sharpest criticism yet from a one of the highest-ranking Republican leaders in the House.

“I am increasingly concerned about the growing mobs occupying Wall Street and other cities across our country,” the Virginia congressman said in Washington Friday morning.
The majority leader than chastised Democrats for supporting the protesters. “Believe it or not, some in this town have actually condoned the pitting of Americans against Americans,” Cantor said. “But you sent us here to fight for you and for all Americans. You sent us here to bring about real change in Washington, real change to your federal government. And we’re committed to do that.”
Both President Obama and Vice President Biden expressed solidarity with the groups at separate speeches Thursday.

“What is the core of that protest?” Biden asked at the Washington Ideas Forum. “The core is: The bargain has been breached. The core is the American people do not think the system is fair or on the level.”

At a White House news conference, President Obama said the Wall Street protest “expresses the frustrations that the American people feel.”

“We had the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression, huge collateral damage all throughout the country, all across Main Street,” Obama said. “And yet you’re still seeing some of the same folks who acted irresponsibly trying to fight efforts to crack down on abusive practices that got us into this problem in the first place.”

In the three weeks since the “Occupy” protests began in lower Manhattan, they have spread beyond New York City to cities across the country.

In Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Austin, Texas, and other metro areas, protesters are demanding jobs, the investigation of Wall Street bankers involved in the financial crisis, and a roll back of the 2010 Citizens United Supreme Court case that allowed corporations to donate unlimited funds to political campaigns.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


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


Wisconsin Budget Plan: Political Payback?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As governors convened at a conference in the nation's capital this weekend, one was noticeably missing -- Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, whose state is embroiled in a political war over a budget proposal that threatens collective bargaining.

The political turmoil in Wisconsin and sweeping budget cuts across the country were a hot topic among the governors attending the National Governors Association's Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.

For some of the governors, what Walker is doing with his budget proposal is putting political payback ahead of what is really good for the state economy, but others say he should be praised for taking serious steps to slash spending.

"What's going on in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states is an ideological detour that does nothing to help us create jobs and move our economy forward," Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley, a Democrat, told ABC News. "I think it's a shame when some governors decide to sharpen their ideological acts in order to go after unions just because they didn't endorse them in the last election."

But several Republican governors, including Haley Barbour of Mississippi and Jan Brewer of Arizona, praised Walker's governing style in Wisconsin, saying he should be commended for his actions.

"Governor Walker, after all, is only doing something he promised to do and he ought to be commended, I think, for trying to keep his commitments," Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels told ABC News.

Barbour, who is considered a potential presidential candidate in 2012, echoed the Indiana Republican's support of Walker and added that collective bargaining is not a right. Barbour also criticized Wisconsin Democrats for leaving the state in the middle of a vote on the budget and warned they will face retaliation in the next election. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


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


Wisconsin Governor Says Dems Have 'Failed to Do Their Jobs'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MADISON, Wisc.) -- Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said Sunday the Democratic state senators who fled the state to block a vote on his controversial budget bill have "failed to do their jobs," and he expects them to concede this week.

"If you want to participate in democracy, you've got to be in the arena, and the arena is right here in Madison, Wisconsin," Walker said on Fox News Sunday.

"My hope is that cooler minds will prevail and by some time earlier this coming week they'll show up for their job," Walker said. "Democracy is not about hiding out in another state. It's about showing up here in the capital and making the case there, and for us, we're willing to take this as long as it takes."

The bill, which would cut benefits for public employees and drastically reduce unions' collective bargaining powers, has sparked protests that stretched into a sixth day today. Union members and supporters have begun to arrive in both Madison and Green Bay, where a smaller pro-union rally is scheduled outside Packers Stadium.

More than 70,000 protestors descended on Wisconsin's capitol Saturday, many of them angry at Walker's bill, which has the backing of the Republican controlled state Senate.

But there were also supporters of Walker's bill, many of them bused in by Tea Party groups, and organizers said they would begin recall efforts against the 14 Democratic state senators who are hiding in Illinois and preventing the bill from coming to a vote on Tuesday.

Some Wisconsin doctors threw their support behind teachers protesting the Republican governor, saying they would write sick notes for teachers to skip work to demonstrate.

Wisconsin has a $137 million shortfall this year and $3.6 billion over the next two years.

Other governors facing similar budget crises are watching Wisconsin carefully. More than 40 states are facing a combined projected shortfall of $125 billion for the fiscal year of 2012. The hardest hit are California, facing a $25.5 billion gap, Texas at $13 billion, Illinois at $15 billion, New York at $9 billion and New Jersey at $10.5 billion.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tea Party Descends on Wisconsin Protests

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(MADISON, Wisc.) -- Wisconsin Tea Party activists are weighing in on the ongoing state worker protests, bussing in picketers to counter protest and exploring measures to recall the Democratic senators that have fled to boycott the vote on Gov. Scott Walker's budget bill.

Madison police expected approximately 100,000 people to fill the square outside the capitol building Saturday as Tea Party members' voices were added to the chorus of dissent and the protests entered their fifth day.

Tea Party members are forming two exploratory committees to recall two of the Wisconsin Democrats that fled the state on Thursday to protest the vote on the certain-to-pass bill, which will drastically cut state worker benefits and eliminate union bargaining rights.

Gov. Walker told reporters Friday that he would not "allow protesters to drown out the voice of the taxpayers," adding that he had received 19,000 supportive e-mails this week and that a "quiet majority" of the state's residents are behind his plan.

Walker has been calling upon the Democrats to return and end their "theatrics."

Wisconsin has a $137 million shortfall this year and $3.6 billion over the next two years.

Other governors facing similar budget crises are watching Wisconsin carefully. More than 40 states are facing a combined projected shortfall of $125 billion for the fiscal year of 2012. The hardest hit are California, facing a $25.5 billion gap, Texas at $13 billion, Illinois at $15 billion, New York at $9 billion and New Jersey at $10.5 billion.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Protesters Take State Capitol in Wisconsin

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MADISON, Wis.) -- A dramatic political showdown is underway in Wisconsin over painful budget cuts that threaten thousands of state employees.  Even President Obama has injected himself into the growing fracus.

"Some of what I've heard coming out of Wisconsin, where you're just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally seems like more of an assault on unions," Obama told Milwaukee's WTMJ-TV in a White House interview Wednesday.

"The idea is to sit down and negotiate," said state Sen. Mark Miller, who fled Wisconsin on Thursday in an effort to delay a vote that would curb the state's unions and force them to contribute more for benefits.  "We've heard over a thousand people testify about the impact this is going to have on their lives.  It's heartbreaking, people break down in tears.  This is a disaster and we're being asked to swallow it in just four days."

Thursday night, more public workers, including firefighters, poured into the capital, in a third day of protests that have brought tens of thousands to Madison.  Some families camped out overnight in a last-ditch effort to protest budget cuts they fear would cripple their union rights.

On Thursday, Republicans were poised to pass an austerity budget requiring state workers to pay more for pensions and health care.

But what really has protesters steamed is a dramatic move by the Republican governor to eliminate union bargaining on everything from wages to work rules.

So the 14 Senate Democrats fled the state on Thursday to prevent a vote, and prevent Wisconsin police from rounding them up.

Gov. Scott Walker unveiled the budget bill only last Saturday.  Faced with a $3.6 billion deficit, he denies he is trying to bust the unions.

"The bottom line is we're broke.  We can't negotiate for something we don't have the ability to give on," said Walker.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio