By AMY MERRICK and KRIS MAHER, The Wall Street Journal
MADISON, Wis. â€”Thousands of protesters left the state capitol Sunday, but hundreds remained inside, defying an order by state officials to end nearly two weeks of raucous occupation over a bill that would strip many unionized state workers of collective-bargaining rights.
The removal of the protesters developed peacefully over the course of the day as police allowed fewer protesters to enter the building than those who left. In the end, a 4 p.m. deadline to clear the capitol passed with hundreds still inside, though they were confined to a smaller area.
Protesters chanted “thank you” to police as they continued their demonstration, their banners still draped from the balconies inside. No arrests had been made early Sunday evening.
Already Wisconsin teachers have begun receiving layoff notices, and more public employees could be warned of possible layoffs this week, as the standoff continues over Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s bill that would strip most of the state’s 170,000 public employees of most collective-bargaining rights.
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