LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Union demonstrators rallying against right-to-work legislation in Michigan have turned the front lawn of the state Capitol into an impromptu carnival that includes giant, inflatable rats representing Republicans supporting the divisive measure.
Inflatable rats appeared on the edge of the lawn Tuesday morning holding signs that say, "The Rat Pack." The rats include signs labeling the three top Republicans pushing the legislation quickly through the GOP-controlled Legislature: Gov. Rick Snyder, Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville and House Speaker Jase Bolger.
Activists also erected tents and inflated two giant inflatable eagles.
State police have set up guard outside every Michigan Capitol entrance.
Fifty-seven-year-old Valerie Constance is a Wayne County Community College District developmental reading instructor and member or the American Federation of Teachers. She sat on the Capitol steps with a sign shaped like a tombstone. It read: "Here lies democracy."
Sue Brown is a 50-year-old pipefitter from Midland. She said she's not in a union, but she's convinced that right-to-work legislation weakens unions' powers, leading to lower wages for everyone. She says unions including the United Auto Workers "created the middle class."
Union members stood on the front steps waving flags and leading chants, including "This is what democracy looks like" and "Who's house? Our house."
Republican lawmakers quickly moved legislation through the House and Senate in a single day last week.