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Senate budget debate halted, 2 protestors removed

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Demonstrators at the Wisconsin State Capitol on June 14, 2011. (Photo credit: Wisconsin Radio Network)
Demonstrators at the Wisconsin State Capitol on June 14, 2011. (Photo credit: Wisconsin Radio Network)

MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - Police removed two protestors from the Wisconsin Senate chamber over the noon hour Thursday, after they used bicycle locks to chain themselves to the railing in the gallery.

Officers cut apart the locks before hauling the demonstrators away. They were among a dozen protestors shouting “Kill the Bill” as the Senate began its session late Thursday morning to debate the proposed new state budget.

A woman named Bridgette told a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter she would stay locked in the gallery for 24 hours. The other person who chained himself was a man. He told Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs he swallowed the key to his bicycle lock.

At least four other protestors were reportedly removed from the gallery.

Soon after the shouting, the Senate adjourned so their parties could meet privately to discuss strategy. The start of the formal debate was delayed until early Thursday afternoon.

The two-year, $66 billion budget seeks to improve the economy by giving tax breaks to farms and businesses – while cutting state aid to schools and local governments and reducing a host of social programs.

The Assembly approved the budget around 3 a.m. Thursday.

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