In a move meant to evoke the infamous “Hooverville” tent cities of the Great Depression, protesters in Madison, Wisconsin opened “Walkerville” on Saturday evening, a tent city in the heart of Madison intended as a protest of Governor Scott Walker’s budget plan.
The Wisconsin Sentinel Journal calls the protest “the latest act in the 2011 political drama featuring the governor’s push to eliminate most collective bargaining rights for most public employees”.
By 9:00pm, an estimated 250 campers in up to 100 tents were arrayed throughout the designated protest area, with many campers pitching their tents on concrete sidewalks. City police, state troopers, and other law enforcement personnel were on hand, but on the whole a carnival air prevailed as families set up for the night, some intending to stay just for a night or two and others through June 20.
The protest was organized by We Are Wisconsin, a federation of unions, students and other groups dedicated to protecting the rights of public workers in the state. Police and firefighters retain the right to shut down the protest at any time, but retired librarian Larry Orr says, “We’ll be here day to day, I’m hoping it stays good-spirited.”
(“Hooverville” photo from the New York City Public Library’s public photostream.)