Wisconsin lawmakers approved a rule change on Wednesday that would allow them to close the State Capitol building over the weekend and eject the protesters who have been camping there for the last week.
The new restrictions on items and sleeping areas within the Capitol were to go into effect at 4 PM on Friday, and the protesters were to be removed from state offices and hearing rooms after business hours on Saturday.
The head of Wisconsin’s Professional Police Association, however, not only opposes the plan but has called on police to join the sleep-in. According to a posting at Dane101, a Madison area blog network, WPPA Executive Director Jim Palmer has asked Governor Scott Walker to keep the building open and allow the protesters to remain.
“The law enforcement officers from across the state that have been working at the Capitol and have been very impressed with how peaceful everyone has been,” Palmer stated. “As has been reported in the media, the protesters are cleaning up after themselves and have not caused any problems. The fact of that matter is that Wisconsin’s law enforcement community opposes Governor Walker’s effort to eliminate most union activity in this state, and we implore him to not do anything to increase the risk to officers and the public.”
Palmer also announced that the WPPA is asking its members from across the state to join the protests, explaining, “Law enforcement officers know the difference between right and wrong, and Governor Walker’s attempt to eliminate the collective voice of Wisconsin’s devoted public employees is wrong. That is why we have stood with our fellow employees each day and why we will be sleeping among them tonight.”
Palmer also noted that many police officers have already been participating in the protests in civilian clothes after providing security in their official function. “We may not have a big group but we’re going to try to have a presence just the same,” he stated. “Who knows, maybe I’ll be there by myself.”