Inside the Capitol right now
MADISON, Wis. — Taylor Tengwall spent the last seven nights sleeping inside Wisconsin’s Capitol building alongside thousands of fellow pro-union protesters, and he was hoping state officials would relent on their decision to clear the building for the night starting Sunday.
“I have faith I will not have to leave,” said Tengwall, an earnest 21-year-old from Duluth, Minn., who was sporting a few days’ growth of stubble, a wrinkled T-shirt, sweat pants and socks.
With Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s bill to strip public workers of collective bargaining rights stuck in a legislative stalemate, some of the protesters who made the Capitol their home over the past two weeks hinted that they might not go easily when police begin clearing the building at 4 p.m.
“We will not leave,” read a hand-printed sign taped up next to one sleeping bag. The Wisconsin AFL-CIO sent out a press release Sunday predicting hundreds of protesters would risk peaceful arrest.
The Department of Administration said the Capitol is in bad need of cleaning after 13 days of 24-hour occupation. Protesters have not trashed the building, but it has taken on the funky locker room aroma of body odor, sweaty feet and deodorant.