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(en) DAMN: 17-FEB-2000: University Of Wisconsin-Madison Sit-In

From DAMN <damn@tao.ca>
Date Sat, 19 Feb 2000 15:41:16 -0500


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> Author: USAS and Erik Brakken contributed to this report

Folks at University of Wisconsin-Madison have been siting-in for 5 hours so
far.  Seven students have U-locked themselves in the Chancellors office with
police who have locked the rest of the students out of the office. 

Campus police have entered the office with bolt cutters, attempting to
arrest the seven students. In the efforts of the others to enter the office
following the police to ensure the safety of their comrades, over half a
dozen of us were maced by the police, some injured badly.

After macing the students in the hallway, the police refused to give the
students in the office food or water and basically held the students in the
office hostage.  One women became ill and the police refused to let her
leave the office for over an hour until their demands where met by the
students in the hallway.

The vice chancellor came and met with students and claimed that the students
inside the office where free to leave at anytime, and were able to get food
and water or whatever--when they left.

About 50 people are still are sitting in the hallway directly outside of the
office, and more are expected to join the occupation beginning tonight.
 
The Wisconsin administration has been belligerent in resisting basic demands
for public accountability and social justice.  Despite a pledge last June to
pull its support of the Fair Labor Association -- derided by nearly the
entire anti-sweatshop community worldwide as nothing more than a permanent
cover-up for sweatshop abuses -- within 6 months if it didn't make
substantial changes.

After no improvement by the FLA, and the creation of a system called the
Worker Rights Consortium to introduce real accountability into the sweatshop
industry and supported by anti-sweat advocates around the world, the
Chancellor ignored a vote of the anti-sweatshop committee on campus to pull
out of the FLA and become a member of the WRC.

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