Aly Kaplan had planned to go home on Monday morning. But after the Department of Administration locked the general public out of the Capitol building, she felt she had a duty to stay.
"I'm not going to go anywhere until the doors open," Kaplan said around noon Monday. "Somebody has to be here to represent what we're doing."
A Madison College student, Kaplan was one of about 30 protesters who remained inside the Capitol building on Monday. Capitol Police had tried to close the building to protesters Sunday night, but backed down when a couple of thousand people refused to budge.
The protesters thought they'd scored a huge victory and the momentum was with them. About 150 stayed the night, but as morning broke, many of them left the building, assuming they'd be let back in at 8 when normal business hours were to resume.
But those who stayed quickly realized more people weren't coming in. They felt tricked. "Now that we see the games they're willing to play, it affirms why we wanted to stay here last night," said Derria Byrd, a graduate education student and member of the Teaching Assistants' Association of UW-Madison. "It refreshes for us the importance of being in this building. We're staying here until the whole bill is off the table."
Thousands stood outside the building, demanding entrance. But Capitol police were admitting only legislators, those on official business and reporters. Food was being brought in for the demonstrators. In the morning, it was bagels and coffee. Byrd heard breakfast burritos were also donated, but never made it inside the building.
Byrd has been protesting every day, but Sunday night was the first time she'd slept in the Capitol. It was quiet, but she got only a couple of hours of sleep. She too felt a duty to stay to hold the Rotunda space and keep the protest going.
Sympathetic legislators were getting some new people in the building, but not many. A group of 150 firefighters tried to get into the building to meet with Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Madison). But only eight were allowed in. Most visitors were frisked and searched (oddly, reporters were not).
Rep. Brett Hulsey (D-Madison) Sunday night had tried to convince the protesters to leave with him at closing time. But on Monday, he was giving them a pep talk, urging them to stay. He bitterly criticized Walker, saying, "You can't trust anything the guy says."
Hulsey said that though the order to keep the public out of the building came from the Department of Administration, he was certain it trickled down from Walker. "[DOA] doesn't scratch without his approval."
Hulsey did urge the crowd to be "peaceful, respectful and safe," but added, "You look pretty peaceful to me. And remember, the police are on your side."
Protester Mike Dickman was furious: "It's a violation of our civil rights. This is Scott Walker trying to silence the voice of Wisconsin," he said. "I have more of a right to be here than Governor Walker, and so do the people outside."
Protester Wajid Jenkins has been in the Capitol since Friday, and he had no intention of leaving now. The protesters needed to build pressure against Walker and the Republicans, and "this day, this is the pressure we have. We know how important it is to everyone."
Although the number of protesters had dwindled and Jenkins hadn't seen any new faces in a while, he said they would win if they could hold on. In locking the public out of the state Capitol, Walker "is going to look like a fool."