By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, March 12th, 2011
MADISON, Wisconsin — Farmers on tractors joined a massive crowd surrounding Wisconsin’s capitol Saturday to protest Republican moves to undermine unions and slash government services in a battle spreading across the United States.
Cheers and bells rang out as tractors bearing signs declaring “Walker’s budget = war on workers, middle class” and “pull together — support working families” slowly circled the towering statehouse which has been the scene of mass protests for weeks now.
The battle began when Wisconsin’s newly-elected Republican governor Scott Walker proposed a controversial bill to strip public workers of bargaining rights.
Republicans in 36 other US states are also pushing for laws that would curtail unions, a major source of financial and mobilizing support for Democrats.
While protesters have taken to the streets across the country, the biggest fight has been in Wisconsin where Democrats fled the state on February 17 in an attempt to block the bill by denying Republicans a legislative quorum.