March 13 2013 12:00 AM

Updates keep coming in on Right to Work protests at the Capitol

Sam Inglot/City Pulse

3:21 p.m.: About 25 protesters have unrolled sleeping bags in front of a line of State Police troopers and officers mounted on horses on the side of the Romney Building. They are chanting: “Nobody in, nobody out!” to try and block Gov. Rick Snyder from leaving the building.

Mchigan State Police have confirmed two arrests of protesters for resisting arrest and obstruction of justice outside of the Romney Building.

Significant crowds moved across Capitol Avenue to the Romney Building over an hour ago and police in riot gear responded by forming barricades around the building. There was a short period of time when police forced protesters north down Capitol toward the Capitol and Michigan Avenue intersection.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson and Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero were able to enter the building to ask security to de-escalate the rising tension outside. They emerged about 10 minutes after entering after being unable to speak to anyone.

Meanwhile, the sit-in at the Captiol rotunda has cleared out.

2:20 p.m.: At least two arrests have taken place in front of the Romney Building and several protesters have been maced since the House approved the second Right to Work bill nearly an hour ago.

A Michigan State Police spokesman said two men tried to rush into the building past troopers. Riot police have moved inside the Romney building to keep protesters out.

Gov. Rick Snyder’s office is on the second floor of the Romney Building, which is directly across the street from the Capitol.

1:35 p.m.: The House has passed Right to Work bills for public and private sector employees. After approval of the measures last week in the Senate, the bills now head to Gov. Rick Snyder for his signature.

12:35 p.m.: Sit-ins are taking place inside the Romney Building and in the Capitol rotunda. The House has passed HB 4003 — Right to Work for public employees — and has started discussion on SB 116 — Right to Work for private employees.

Both bills will go to Gov. Rick Snyder for approval after the House passes them. The Senate approved both bills on Thursday. 

Out on the Capitol lawn, we’re hearing reports of protesters getting maced by State Police troopers.

Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero, Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, D-Lansing, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson are attempting to fire up the crowd.

11:40 a.m.: Protesters are getting restless outside of the Capitol Building as State Police troopers try to clear out the area where an Americans for Prosperity tent was torn down by Right to Work opponents.

AFP supports the legislation.

About five troopers are mounted on horseback and about 30 other officers on foot are trying to clear the area where the tent was torn down.

11:24 a.m.: Correction: The House has not passed a Right to Work bill yet, as the legislation is still being discussed.

10:54 a.m.: The House passes HB 4003, Right to Work legislation for public employees.

Outside, protesters begin march around the Capitol grounds with chants of, "Don't sign the bill!" and "Liar!"

10:10 a.m.: Inside the Capitol, the upper floors where the House and Senate hold session are at capacity and the Michigan State Police aren’t allowing anymore people upstairs based on an order by the fire marshal.

State troopers are conducting foot traffic inside, leading people around within the building and not allowing crowds to build up on the steps.

The atmosphere is energetic and peaceful, with no incidents to report at this time. The chanting hasn’t stopped for well over a half-hour. One protesters was overheard telling a state trooper: “It’s a good day to be a speeder” out on the roads.

Outside, House Minority Leader Richard Hammel, D-Flushing, addressed a crowd in front of City Hall. “Don’t let this be the last day of the fight,” he said.

Rep. Tim Greimel, D-Auburn Hills, joined Hammel. “The governor campaigned as a moderate, but now we see his true colors with this assault on the middle class.”

The mood outside reflects one of optimism that today is the first in what could be a lengthy battle to prevent Right to Work becoming a reality in Michigan.

9:25 a.m.: Several thousand protesters have already arrived at the Capitol, chanting “One-Term-Nerd” and “What’s disgusting? Union busting!”

The Capitol lawn, the area in front of City Hall and the Capitol steps are packed with people. Still more are flooding onto the Capitol grounds from the Lansing Center.

A speaker from We Are Michigan, which organized the march from the Lansing Center, said fire marshals plan to allow 2,000 people into the Capitol today for safety reasons. There have been reports of State Police troopers carrying canisters of tear gas and mace. East Lansing Police are also on hand.

Tuesday, Dec. 11 — Thousands were gathered inside the Lansing Center by 8 a.m. this morning to organize for a march to the Capitol by 9 to protest pending Right to Work legislation.

Protesters from throughout the state and region have descended upon the Capitol today to protest a Right to Work law, which was rushed through the Republican-led Legislature last week with a promise to be signed by Gov. Rick Snyder today.

Before 9 a.m., members from the UAW and other union organizations were on the east side of the Capitol with signs that read, "Snyder Lied!!!!" and "Right to Work, Wrong for Michigan!" 

City Pulse reporters Sam Inglot and Patrick Lyons will be covering events of the day. Follow the latest at, on the City Pulse Facebook page or follow @CityPulse on Twitter.