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Tuesday, September 23, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 47.0° F  Fair
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Capitol protesters no longer allowed to use conference rooms at night
Republican legislators mount pressure on occupation
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The TAA will continue to occupy the building, doing work in the hallways if necessary.
The TAA will continue to occupy the building, doing work in the hallways if necessary.
Credit:Phil Ejercito

In an apparent move to pressure protesters occupying the Capitol, the Joint Committee on Legislative Organization voted Thursday to ban all-non Legislative staff from using conference rooms between 6 p.m. and 8 a.m., starting Saturday.

Groups like the Teachers Assistants Association and Defend Wisconsin have been using rooms in the Capitol round the clock to organize protests and monitor events in the Capitol.

Alex Hanna, co-president of TAA, which issued a press release about the vote, says it's just one of many tactics legislators have been using to pressure those occupying the building.

"Last night, they were playing protest footage on TVs in the Rotunda extra loud, I think just to annoy the people occupying the building," Hanna says. "Symbolically, they're trying to make us less entrenched. But I think we can still mount an affective occupation."

Early on in the protest, Hanna claims that Republican legislators were reserving open rooms in an attempt to prevent protesters from using them.

Hanna says the TAA will continue to occupy the building, doing work in the hallways if necessary.

"I'm sure they'll be using any tool they can to push us out," he says. "We're going to stay as long as possible, as long as the bill is on the table. We're going to stay here."

Legislators on the committee could not be reached for comment today. Sen. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) was quoted in Slate denying it was a move to crack down on protestors, but about security.

"I don't think we're trying to clamp down on that," Fitzgerald was quoted as saying. "I think what law enforcement is worried about is, they have no idea how many people are in one office at night, sleeping bags everywhere. And there were concerns about exiting people out if something would happen, not having any idea how many people are in those legislative offices."

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