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Around the US, rallies lend moral support to Wisconsin public workers

Public employees protesting Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to weaken collective bargaining in Wisconsin have been joined by steelworkers, teamsters, nurses, airline pilots, and other private sector workers. In state capitals around the country, supporters rallied as well.

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Crystal Luddeback, 18, left, joins other demonstrators near New York City Hall in support of Wisconsin workers on Saturday, Feb. 26. Such rallies were held in state capitals and other locations around the country.

Frank Franklin II/AP

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From Augusta, Maine, to Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Juneau, Alaska, supporters of public unions are rallying across the country in support of their brothers and sisters in Madison, Wisconsin.

Demonstrators in Madison have been at it for two weeks now, camped out in the capitol building and filling the chilly streets in protest of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s plan to gut most collective bargaining rights for teachers, social workers, snow plow drivers, and other public employees across the state.

As they chanted "This is what democracy looks like," demonstrators in Madison Saturday hoped to top the 70,000 that had gathered last weekend. They’ve been joined by steelworkers, teamsters, nurses, airline pilots, and other private sector union workers. Around the country, in state capitals and other towns and cities, supporters rallied as well.

So far, everything in Madison has remained peaceful with law enforcement officers acting more like chaperones at a mass sleepover.

But those hundreds of people camped out in the capitol rotunda – resting on sleeping bags or munching on gift pizzas ordered by supporters across the country (and, according to one report, by a sympathetic fellow-traveler in Egypt) – face an important decision Sunday: Whether to leave then, as the police have said they must do so the place can be cleaned up, or stay put and risk arrest.

Meanwhile, the political impasse continues.

"Shame, shame!"

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