Milwaukee, WI – While 300 foreclosed homes were being auctioned off Feb. 6 at the Milwaukee County Courthouse, over 50 protesters stormed Milwaukee City Hall, Feb. 6 demanding an end to foreclosures, evictions, plant closings, school closings and layoffs, as well as transparency with the federally-funded Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).
The Occupy Coalition called the event “Take Back City Hall.” It included a march past several downtown banks before entering City Hall, along with mic checks and chants against bankers and corrupt politicians. One chant addressed the mayor: “Tom Barrett, get your ass in gear; stop giving our homes to the auctioneers!"
"Our people have been robbed so long and our elected officials have been letting big businesses control the voices of the people," said Khalil Coleman of Occupy the Hood. "So we went to City Hall to take the power back."
Despite the heavily-policed City Hall confining protesters to the main lobby, Occupy protesters made it to the second floor balcony to drop a large banner that read, "We are the 99%. Stop foreclosures. CDBG transparency."
At one point, Milwaukee Alderman Ashanti Hamilton came down past the police to meet the protest. Confronted about transparency issues over CDBGs, he agreed on public record to a hearing over the issue.
The Occupy Coalition, made up of Occupy the Hood, Occupy Milwaukee and Occupy Riverwest, have also recently been involved in door-to-door interviews, bus teach-ins and community service.
Danielle Meyer of Occupy Milwaukee explained, "The only way to confront the power of the 1% is to do it together. We've been in a lot of communities talking about the economic crisis and its impact on us. Today at City Hall we just got done confronting that power with our demands and I expect we'll be doing it again soon."
Brian Woods, an Occupy organizer, agreed. "This was an empowering experience," he said.
From 3 to 5 p.m., the main floor of the Milwaukee City Hall lobby was occupied, with Occupy protesters promising to return.