Protesters Rally at Capitol During State of the State

By: Shannon Kantner Email
By: Shannon Kantner Email

It might have been the governor's state of the state address inside, but to those outside, it was just another speech.

"The only words that really matter are the ones that he signed into law, and he's going to have to be responsible for that," Michigan Nurses Association union member Mike Severino said.

The right to work law was the main reason hundreds of workers came back to the state Capitol with one message for the Governor.

"Right to work is not right for Michigan, and we're standing strong for working families, because we are the working families, and he's tearing down the middle class, and we're trying to show him that we're not going to stand for it," SEIU Healthcare Michigan member Shalaya Bryant said.

Protesters surrounded the Capitol for more than three hours chanting and nearly blocking sidewalks as guests for the State of the State entered the building. Michigan State Police kept a close watch on the crowd, one they said is noticeably larger than in years' past.

"It's nothing that we're not prepared to handle, and our worry isn't so much the number of people as much as what they're doing," Michigan State Police Public Information Office Shanon Banner said. "So, this was a very peacful, respectful crowd, and that doesn't pose any problems for us."

Though it might have posed a problem for Governor Snyder. During the address, protesters got as close to the building as possible while banging on drums and whistling, hoping the governor would hear them.

"Rick Snyder, he's not worthy of a 'Governor,' OK? And I mean that," Local UAW 652 President Mike Green said. "But when you don't listen to the voters out there, that's not good. It doesn't bring anything to the State of Michigan."

Now wherever the governor goes this term, he can expect protesters to follow.

"We're not going away til election day," Green said. "Anytime he makes an appearance, somebody's going to be there somewhere."

State Police said the crowd probably would have been larger and stuck around longer if the weather would have been a little more bearable.

Protesters mostly cleared out by 7:30 p.m.


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