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Wisconsin Protesters Target Special Olympics Ceremony

 

Several protesters in zombie makeup injected themselves into a Special Olympics ceremony in Wisconsin this week when they walked in front of Gov. Scott Walker and stood between him and the group of athletes he was paying tribute to in front of the state Capitol.

The silent protest immediately brought to mind the ongoing fight over union rights that led to three weeks of rowdy demonstrations at the state Capitol in the spring that paralyzed Wisconsin's government as Senate Democrats fled to Illinois in an unsuccessful attempt to block a vote.

Yet the protest on Wednesday appeared to be unrelated. Earlier in the day, a statewide student organization held what it calls an educational event on the opposite side of the Capitol on a new voter ID law that it says will make it harder for students to vote. The United Council of UW Students provided zombie makeup and T-shirts that read, "Students are as good as dead."

But the group disavowed any connection to the protest at the Special Olympics.

"We in no way condone that," spokesman Matt Guidry told FoxNews.com."The event is all about athletes. It shouldn't be politicized."

Guidry said a few students who were at the earlier event may have protested Walker when they saw him speaking. But he added that it's hard to know for sure since no group has claimed responsibility for it.

For his part, Walker didn't allow the protesters to distract him.

"The Special Olympics is about the cheer and the joy and the passion the attorney general was just talking about of our Special Olympians," he said in his remarks that were posted on YouTube by the MacIver Institute. "That's what the focus should be on. That's exactly what we're talking about today."

In a statement to FoxNews.com, Walker spokesman Cullen Werwie said, "While it's unfortunate the protestors chose that venue, Gov. Walker was happy to promote the Special Olympics yesterday where he spoke at the opening ceremonies, and this morning where he kicked off the 25th annual law enforcement torch run."

The Special Olympics did not respond to a request for comment.

Walker has drawn the wrath of liberals over his new union law that requires nearly all public workers to contribute more to their health care and pensions and eliminates most of their collective bargaining power. Walker says the law is necessary to help close a $3.6 billion budget shortfall.

But the law is in limbo after a judge blocked it, prompting state attorneys to ask the state Supreme Court to intervene.

There were protesters outside Wednesday's ceremony holding signs that appeared to address the union issue. One sign read, "Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining."