A prominent Tea Party group has announced that it will stage a counter-protest in Wisconsin on Saturday aimed at supporting a measure in that state to revoke public employee unions' collective bargaining rights and to force them to pay a slightly larger amount into their own health and pension plans.
That measure sparked large protests in Madison Thursday by union groups, and a walkout by Democratic legislators in a successful effort to deny the State Senate a voting quorum.
On Saturday, the Tea Party will answer with some protest muscle of its own. American Majority, a Tea Party group that trains political activists, will hold an event in Madison billed as a response to liberal union groups. Headlining the event will be conservative activists and web gurus Andrew Breitbart and Gateway Pundit's Jim Hoft.
A Facebook event page for the protest already boasts 875 registered attendees (as of publication). The page describes Saturday's event thusly:
As the week has progressed, Wisconsin and the Nation have watched schools across Wisconsin close due to teachers participating in a “sick out”, the unions bussing people in from other states to inflate their rally numbers in Madison and legislators fleeing the state to avoid the vote on the budget repair bill.
It’s time the voices of the Wisconsin people are heard.
We've had thousands of people show up for tea party events to rally to take our state back - but our work isn't done. Let's have our voices heard once again and show our state legislators that we support this bill. We need concerned Wisconsin citizens to show up at noon on Saturday, February 19th to voice our support for Gov. Walker and our conservative legislators! Tell your friends--let's set a turn out record!
"We're shooting for large numbers," Matt Batzel, American Majority's executive director in Wisconsin, told the Washington Examiner. Hundreds "at a minimum," he added.
On Twitter, conservatives joked that the Tea Party had waited until Saturday because unlike Madison's public school teachers, they actually had to work, and couldn't stage a "sick out."
But some conservative groups didn't wait for the weekend to stage their protests. In Ohio, where the state legislature is considering similar legalslation to Wisconsin's, activists from the Cincinnati Tea Party came out in support of that measure on Thursday. They mingled with union protesters, there to voice their objections to the measure, producing some heated back and forth, such as the exchange in this video::