by Bill Forman
"Obviously, if you have to have two protests on the same day, things aren't going too well," said a speaker Saturday afternoon at Denver's pro-union rally in support of Wisconsin state workers' right to collective bargaining.
Noon rallies were held in all 50 state capitols, but Denver's was complicated by the fact that a reproductive rights demonstration had already been booked for the same site.
At first, the convergence of the two mostly sympathetic causes proved beneficial to each, as the crowd grew to 3000. (At least by organizer estimates, police on the scene suggested attendance was less than half that amount).
But the rally soon ground to a halt when, at 12:40 p.m., reproductive rights advocates led a march to Denver's 16th street mall. While the event permit actually went until 2 p.m., most protesters assumed the pro-union rally had ended. Some joined the march, but most went home.
"This is the shortest demonstation I've ever seen," commented one woman, who was among the less than 200 protesters who stayed on. An hour later, 150 or so marchers returned to the capitol for its final moments.
Meanwhile in Madison, Wisconsin, some 100,000 demonstrators were braving snowy conditions to gather at the state capital. There, Gov. Scott Walker is threatening to begin laying off thousands of state workers if his union-busting legislation continues to be blocked by Democratic legislators.
Following are photos from the Denver protest, along with a news report from Russian television critiquing U.S. media and politicians for "flying the flag for popular uprisings thousands of miles away" while ignoring ongoing domestic demonstrations that will soon enter their third week.