On Thursday afternoon, from 4:00 to 4:45, about 300 protesters gathered in a chanting, drumming, sign-carrying crowd outside the lobbying offices recently opened by the billionaire Koch Brothers in Madison, Wisconsin.
Among the onlookers was Judith Davidoff, the reporter who first broke the story about the newly opened lobby office in the Capital Times on February 23.
The Koch brothers were major contributors to Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, donating $43,000 to his campaign and millions to attack ads against his opponent, and have long pursued a campaign to help break unions across the country through their rightwing political network.
Police lined the street outside 10 East Doty Street in Madison, where the lobby office is located, parting the crowd so cars could drive through the downtown. Some drivers honked in support and the protesters cheered. Police Chief Noble Wray drove past in an official Madison Police SUV and waved to the cheering crowd. Wray made national news today when he issued a statement demanding more information from the governor about a taped phone conversation in which he indicated that he had considered bringing "troublemakers" into the Capitol building to disrupt protests and give the union members and supporters who have descended on Madison a bad name.
Davidoff noted that at least one worker whom she recognized in the Koch Brothers' office seemed harried and inconvenienced by the protest at the main doors of the building and left the scene.
Among the signs the chanting, cheering, drumming protesters carried:
Governor Walker: Kick the Koch Habit
Democracy, Not Aristocracy
We Are Watching You!
Stop the Attack on Wisconsin Families
... And a sign with part of the transcript of the 20-minute prank phone call with Governor Walker by a Buffalo Beast editor posing as David Koch:
"Koch:'Well, I'll tell you what, Scott, once you crush these bastards, I'll fly you out to Cali and really show you a good time.'
"Walker: 'All right, that would be outstanding. Thanks for all the support in helping us to move the cause forward."
The same protester carried a baseball bat with the words "Club for Growth" on it.
After singing, drumming, chanting, and honking for about 45 minutes, the crowd dispersed, with plans for bigger rallies tomorrow (when Madison teachers, who led the protests from the beginning, have a day off for a conference and are expected to return in force) and Saturday.
Stay tuned ...
If you liked this article by Ruth Conniff, the political editor of The Progressive, check out her story "Walker Tells Wisconsinites: Nobody Should Get Decent Benefits."
Follow Ruth Conniff @rconniff on Twitter.