U.S. Congressman says Wisconsin Act 10 protests are incomparable to Capitol Hill violence

Published: Jan. 6, 2021 at 11:45 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) -The violence on Capitol Hill was the first of its kind in modern history.

In 2011, Wisconsin’s State Capitol was home to Act 10 protests that lasted for weeks.

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, Madison Democrat, was present at both events and said they’re incomparable.

“It’s sad that we’re disturbing the official proceedings to improve the electoral college votes. It’s a part of the peaceful transition of power in this country,” Rep. Pocan said.

It was a peaceful transition of power turned violent.

“It’s one thing to have a protest, but that part went away very quickly when they started to storm the Capitol,” he said.

A mob of Trump supporters were scaling the walls, barricades were broken and the Capitol was breached.

“It’s pretty surreal,” Rep. Pocan said.

It’s a first for modern history at the nation’s Capitol, but not the first time thousands crowded the steps of a state Capitol.

“I was told the last time the U.S. Capitol was breached is when the British were here,” Rep. Pocan said.

In February 2011, demonstrators camped in and outside of Wisconsin’s State Capitol for over three weeks. They were protesting then Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal known as Act 10. It was an effort to eliminate union rights for most public employees.

Rep. Pocan served on the Wisconsin Assembly during this time. He said during the protests, lawmakers still got work done.

“We had proceedings. We were in debating bills, throughout the night in the state assembly,” he said.

But today on Capitol Hill, thousands of rioters stormed the building bringing proceedings to a halt.

“There was no attempt to go after the governor or legislative leaders in Wisconsin,” he said. “Here you know they stormed Nancy Pelosi’s office, put their feet up on her desk. It’s very different, very disrespectful.”

Rep. Pocan said overall you can’t compare the two. He said the chaos at the Capitol was a different story.

“It’s not unique to have protesters. These aren’t protesters. These are vandals. These are criminals,” Rep. Pocan said.

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