State and local police in Lansing getting ready for right-to-work protests

Dec 11, 2012

LANSING, MI (MPRN)--   Police officers from across the state are in Lansing preparing for protests as lawmakers get ready to vote on so-called “right-to-work” bills.  Michigan Public Radio’s Jake Neher has more: 

Dozens of State Police have gathered in a hallway in the Capitol’s lower level, cordoned off by blue curtains. This is their base of operations in the building this week as hundreds – maybe thousands -- of protesters are expected to fill the upper levels.   

Michigan State Police helmets and riot gear in a storage room at the state Capitol.

In one closet, police have stashed helmets and other riot gear.

Capitol Facilities Director Steve Benkovsky hopes the demonstrations will stay peaceful.

“Everybody has a right to come in here and voice their opinion," he says.  "And we’ll deal with it the best we can and let them voice their opinion.” 

Rev. Greg Martin of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lansing makes impassioned anti-Right-to-Work speech alongside Michigan Nurses Association.

State and local police plan to close a number of streets around the state Capitol. They will also limit the number of people allowed in the building.

Some Democrats say the moves are meant to keep protesters away.

For the Michigan Public Radio Network, I’m Jake Neher at the state Capitol.