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MARQUETTE, MI – (Great Lakes Radio News) – Union demonstrators have assembled at the Capitol in Lansing today to protest of right-to-work legislation that will come up for a vote in the House.
About 8:30 a.m., tensions started to build between supporters of the legislation to bar mandatory compensation to unions from employees who work under a collective bargaining agreement and opponents who say the move would severely undercut the right to collective bargaining and the union movement.
A handful of supporters of the law held a banner on the east steps of the Capitol, but then union demonstrators overwhelmed them and used their signs to cover the banner. Heated arguments also broke out between demonstrators about the pros and cons of a right-to-work law.
By 10 a.m. the Capitol building was at capacity, with 2,000 people inside. The crowd surrounding the Capitol was estimated at 10,000 to 12,000.
State Police troopers are all over the Capitol and its grounds, carrying wooden batons, plastic handcuffs and other crowd control gear. Some troopers are carrying what appear to be devices to launch tear gas grenades.
State police said people will be let in in small groups as others leave.
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