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Publish Date : Sunday 13 March 2011 - 07:56
Wisconsin senators return, join rallies
Wisconsin senators return, join rallies
Islam Times - The Wisconsin legislators, who left for the state of Illinois in protest against a Republican-instigated law limiting public employees' bargaining rights, have returned to Wisconsin to join demonstrations
Islam Times reports from USA TODAY: They were given a heroes' welcome by tens of thousands of pro-union protesters who again converged on the state Capitol in Madison.

"It is so good to be here, Wisconsin!" Senate minority leader Mark Miller told the crowd. He was met by chants of "Welcome home!"

The returning senators addressed the crowd from a stage, insisting that the fight is not over. They said they will fight the law in the courts.

They are also circulating petitions to hold recall elections in a bid to oust state senators who voted for the controversial bill.

They began marching around the state Capitol along with nearly 100,000 people on Saturday to face what is seen as one of the biggest challenges in decades encountered by the US organized labor.

Madison police spokesman Joel DeSpain estimated the crowd at 85,000 to 100,000 people, which would top the size of protests in Madison during the Vietnam War.

The Republican-controlled state legislature passed the proposal earlier this week and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker signed it into law on Friday.

The legislation strips most of the state's public employees of their right to bargain over health coverage, pensions and other benefits.

The 14 Democrats left Wisconsin on February 17 in a failed bid to prevent the Senate from passing Walker's collective bargaining bill.

Restrictions on public sector unions have been introduced in a number of other US states with Republican governors, including Indiana, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan and Florida.

Some Democrats see it as the opening salvo of the 2012 presidential election because unions are the biggest single contributors to the Democratic Party.
Story Code: 59236